Senior Year

Friday, July 24th, 2015 – Detroit City FC 1, AFC Cleveland 2

Photo by Michael Kitchen
Photo by Michael Kitchen

As a young lad or lass, high school forms the center of your very existence. In the moment, nothing seems more important than passing your next test, making varsity, or, if you’re less motivated, simply figuring out which party to attend on the weekend. At the end of your four years, you may be bummed out that you have to leave your friends behind, and you may be a little uneasy about stepping out into the wider world.

As time passes, though, you realize that what was important wasn’t your GPA, your sports stats, or your attendance record. It was the experiences and human interactions that helped shape you as a person.

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Detroit City’s fourth year came to an end on Friday, with the lousy graduation present of a long, quiet bus ride home. Losses, particularly in the playoffs, are tough to take, and for nobody more than the players. Josh Rogers broke down at the end of the game, a testament to how much this meant to him. He has nothing to be ashamed of, however – he helped build this club from nothing (literally nothing, as in nonexistent) to where it is today. If he’s indeed played his final game, he’s left a tremendous legacy for those who follow him.

That legacy is a club whose roots grow deeper and deeper every year, bringing people together and exerting an increasingly significant and positive influence on the community. I’ve said this before and it sounds like a cop-out/excuse/rationalization, but I truly believe it so I’ll say it again. At this level, wins and losses are secondary to building a sustainable organization and a culture that is self-perpetuating.

Once, not so long ago, there was an NPSL team with the name Detroit, and it was highly successful on the field. It even took the league title one year. Despite this, they failed to attract any real following and shortly thereafter they poofed out of existence.

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There are those who don’t get us. Some refuse to watch us because they view anything below EPL or MLS as beneath them. Some say we’re a bad influence on children because we use the word “fuck”, nevermind that they’re exposed to the same language on a daily basis at school, with friends, playing sports, on TV, on the internet, in music, and in video games. My personal favorite of 2015, though, comes from a sportswriter/radio host who was covering the Open Cup match with the Bucks. To paraphrase:

“Duggan’s got the investors, the money, and the better team. You lost, why don’t you just give up?”

These people don’t matter, they never did, and they never will.

People like this are the ones who matter:

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What’s been created here is not just a soccer team but something that has deeply meaningful, positive effects on people’s lives.

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Four years are now in the books, and, like graduating from high school, it feels as if we’ve come to an ending. In truth, though, we’re just getting started.

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