With Thanksgiving this Thursday, families and individuals throughout the country take time to give thanks and appreciation to the people they love and luxuries in life they are fortunate enough to experience. It is the one day of the year where we as a society collectively appreciate the world we live in, and reflect on the most important things in life we have to be thankful for.
For me personally, I am extremely thankful for my family, friends, and the opportunities that I have been given in life. However, there is one luxury I have that I am more thankful for than any other. That luxury is the emergence of soccer in the Central Florida community.
When Orlando City Soccer Club joined MLS at the end of last year, it brought a much needed professional sport to the City of Orlando. On top of that, a passion was ignited unlike any other in Central Florida. Soccer craze came full force, and before the first ball was even kicked, Orlando City already had one of the strongest fan bases in Major League Soccer. On my daily drive from home to the office, I would most likely see an Orlando City magnet on at least ten to fifteen cars — every day. The intensity of the soccer community backing Orlando City kept growing day by day and will continue to grow as time goes on. A community coming together as closely as Central Florida has is certainly something I am thankful for.
Being a soccer fan is a wonderful thing. Going to a game is a great experience for both children and adults. For me, going to an Orlando City game is an opportunity to unwind from any stresses or negativity that I may experience in daily life. For ninety minutes, I am focused on two things- the game itself, and the passion in the stands.
An Orlando City match gives a fan many emotions. With ten minutes to go in a match and Orlando City needing a goal to win the game and keep their playoff hopes alive, most people in the stands will feel an anxiety unlike any other. When Seb Hines kicks in a wonder goal and gives Orlando City the victory, the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach is nothing but pure joy.
For those ninety minutes, nothing else matters. No stresses, no anger, and no animosity. Nothing but pure happiness and joy takes over your life until the final whistle blows, and that is something that I am truly and unequivocally thankful for.
Even with all the positives that come with being an Orlando City fan, there was thing I just could never get past. The fact that Orlando City would usually only play once a week. Having to go six days without any soccer in my life could be brutal, as I would just starve for the one game a week to come.
Thankfully, that will no longer be an issue.
With Orlando Pride and Orlando City B set to begin play at the beginning of next year, I won’t be looking forward to just one game a week —I will be looking forward to three.
In conclusion, the purpose of Thanksgiving is to give thanks to the most important people and blessings in your life. However, sometimes in life, it is the smaller things that have the greatest impact. And for that, I am truly thankful for Orlando City Soccer Club.