By Scotty Smith
(Note: the following is a form of therapy for me. I needed to type it more than you needed to read it, but thanks for reading it anyway.)
Listen up, you beautiful, beautiful people!
Four years ago today, Donny Smith and I started Rogue Squadron, a supporters’ group for the newly-announced Memphis City FC. I have always loved the balance and symmetry of the number four, and I have loved spending the last four years as a soccer supporter. But, like high school, college, and youth ministry, four years is just about right for me.
Today, I announce my retirement from being a soccer supporter and podcast host. I will still be a fan of Memphis 901FC, the US national teams, and Arsenal Football Club, but I will not be a supporter by the American definition of that term. The reason is a simple one: my family needs my full attention. My wife and kids never fell in love with soccer, and they have, for far too long, lived with a partial version of me. Most of me was consumed by the game. It became an obsession that transcended healthy levels of involvement. That must end today.
As I mentioned on the year-end review of the 901 Soccer Podcast, I have hosted my last show. Lawrence Dockery, who has done an unbelievable job with our game reviews, will be calling the shots from this point onward. Alan Davis—our graphic designer, Facebook guru, and top analyst—will continue in his various roles. I look forward to seeing and hearing the new direction for the pod. I always look forward to seeing the soccer content Alan posts on the Facebook page, just as I look forward to Lawrence’s match reports, biting tweets, and general disdain for Gregg Berhalter.
Rogue Squadron, the Rogue Report, the Rogue Soccer Podcast, and the 901 Soccer Podcast were all created to get and keep people excited about spectator soccer in Memphis. That was very important to me, mostly because other soccer teams had tried and failed to get people excited before. Our hope was that we could grow the Memphis City FC fan base to the point where the owners would have no problem joining a professional league.
It did not happen the way we planned it, but pro soccer did come to Memphis. This was the culmination of our dream, no matter how it came about. Memphis WAS excited about soccer, and in a very sustainable way. In the year leading up to the opening match, we were able to help create and maintain excitement, which was a really good feeling.
We interviewed Craig Unger, Peter Freund, Andrew Bell, Tim Mulqueen, and USL Commissioner Jake Edwards two times each. We also interviewed Wes Charpie, Raul Gonzalez, Josh Morton, Adam Najem, Dan Metzger, Jon Klein, Travis Lamprecht, Bradley Field, and American soccer god Tim Howard. We did beautiful people interviews with Gabby Little, Anna Della Rosa, and our pal Seamus Loftus. We did a weekly Mafia Hits! feature with Bluff City Mafia capo Clayton France, mostly while we were both driving home from work.
When I look back on all that, I get a very satisfying “mission accomplished” type feeling. Lawrence and Alan (and others they bring on) will do a great job of keeping people connected to the team. I am leaving the pod in the best hands possible.
The fun I have had as a capo, supporter, and podcast host cannot be calculated on any measurable scale. It has been immense. I want you to know that you are all beautiful, beautiful people. I thank the Rogue Squadron old guard: Terry, Nathan, Gabe and Matt “the Minotaur” Healy, the Frances, Fields, Embrys, Bensons, Brentons, Solomons, Parkers, Plocks, and Swinneys.
I thank Seamus and DJ, whose pubs have hosted our watch parties too many times to count. They have been great friends of the pod and me personally. I will continue to support your wonderful soccer-friendly establishments.
I thank my BCM family. You guys have a beautiful future if you can stick together and stand united for the club we all love. The energy you bring to home matches is equal parts entertaining and inspiring. You are a MASSIVE part of the success we saw in the seats this season. I will stop in and say hey on occasion, but those occasions may be few and far between. I feel strongly that members need to be able to fully give of themselves for the collective success of the group. Sadly, I don’t have that kind of time right now. I love you and wish you all the best. And, since I do have a ministry background, feel free to reach out if you need someone to listen to you or pray with or for you.
I thank Dan and Doug for taking a chance on Memphis. Thank you for allowing Donny and me to babysit your club while you were away. The whole experience was, quite simply, tremendous. I hope you look back with fond memories. Also, I want to thank Donny for his non-stop work that year, and for allowing me to drag him into this insane little side project.
I thank Peter, Craig, Andrew, Mulch, Travis, Jon, Bradley, and Timmy Howard. Thank you all for coming on the show, and your roles in bringing professional soccer to Memphis. You have all contributed to the sustainability we now enjoy.
I thank my kids, who gave up their daddy on many occasions. You are the coolest kids any dad could ever hope to have. (Countdown: three weeks ‘til Orlando. It’s going to be so, so epic.)
Most of all, I thank my beautiful wife, Ginger, who never once complained about my out-of-control hobby. I will watch Days of Our Lives with you until the days of our lives are done. You are my best friend, and my favorite thing about life on Earth. I love you.
Well, friends, it’s been fun. I wish you well. As I depart, I offer one final hope: If you are not currently a follower of Jesus Christ, I sincerely hope that it happens sometime. It’s a beautiful, beautiful life, and it offers the hope of one that’s even more beautiful.
Scotty (a.k.a. Memphis City Smitty)
P.S. — I still have a rather extensive collection of #RogueSelfies that may one day be released into the public domain. They are pretty fantastic.