April 11, 2021

That First Time Feeling: Racing Louisville FC's Inaugural Match - A Supporter's Perspective

I woke up this morning sore and hoarse, but still riding the high from last night.  Racing Louisville FC played their inaugural match, hosting Orlando Pride in Day 2 of the Challenge Cup at Lynn Family Stadium.  When the team was announced 18 months ago, I had no idea what to expect or how it would change my life and point of view as a supporter. I was not prepared for what the night had in store.

In July 2020, in the middle of a hot Kentucky summer during a global pandemic, Scouse Bromilow recruited me, among others, to help initiate a new supporter's group specifically to support Racing. As a dedicated supporter to Louisville City FC, I thought, "easy peasy."  I thought there would be inherent excitement from the public, and things would organically come together.  I thought. 

I was fortunate enough to be officially deemed the Vice President of the Lavender Legion.  I was excited to be part of something so incredibly special, and to help build it from the ground up.  I knew it would be a lot of work, but I don't think I really knew...until shit got real. 

  • Weekly board meetings = HARD WORK.
  • Initiating a membership process = HARD WORK. 
  • Creating and developing custom merchandise = HARD WORK. 
  • Adding a charity element = HARD WORK. 
  • Making sure we don't forget to post things on social media = HARD WORK.
  • Designing and executing tifos = HARD WORK. 
  • Writing and recording new chants = HARD WORK. 
  • Game day logistics = HARD WORK. 
  • Planning meet-ups while we're still in a pandemic = HARD WORK. 
  • Begging to borrow equipment = HARD WORK.
  • Being a capo = HARD WORK. 
  • Being a capo with no megaphone during a massive downpour = HARD WORK. 
  • Doing all these things we've never done before = HARD WORK.  

All. Hard. VOLUNTEER. Work.

Our tifo made a statement about who we are as a city and a supporter group.  Many of our chants were adapted from existing ones, but we had to start somewhere!  I hugged friends (yes, masked and vaccinated.)  It was so much fun, and I was honestly left speechless admiring the fruits of our labor.  We have something so, so special here, folks.  There are almost no adjectives left to adequately describe the sensation...it's just a feeling.  You have to experience it to really know what it is. 

We took massive risks but we reaped massive rewards.  Was it perfect?  Hell no.  Was it worth all the bullshit, sweat, and tears?  Hell yes.  I have learned so much about myself and others throughout these past few months; I am a better person because of it.  There are so many people to thank - the list is enormous.  Anybody who had anything to do with the experience last night: thank you.

At the end of the night, I was so happy and fulfilled.  Today, I have a whole new perspective and I am filled with inspiration.  The best is yet to come, my friends.