Another week, another tough loss for the NightWatch.
It’s hard for me to sound like a Debbie-Downer—I pride myself on my optimism—but things are starting to get tough to look at through the usual rosy glasses.
Nashville did what it has many-a-time this year, started off strong. At some point in every game, though, it feels like the NightWatch look down. At some point, it feels like this Nashville team collectively realizes that it’s up in a game and competing and does not feel it belongs.
Full disclosure here. I’m a native Nashvillian, have played ultimate with some of the guys on the team--and genuinely love the group as a whole—and have wholly bought into the optimism around this year. I hate, hate, hate the idea of critical journalism needing to question, pick at, and needle every decision and play in a game. Sports are fast and fun and instinct and intuition play a huge role in real life decisions and I believe we’re far too critical as a whole of in-game decision-making. Growing up a baseball fan, there are a lot of little decisions to critique and it wears thin on me. I also know that it’s way easier to sound intelligent and sophisticated when providing negative feedback and bashing something than when you’re putting on the positive sheen. It’s an issue in the world of sports journalism that I try to stay away from here on the Lantern.
But, when Nashville was up 1 point going into the 2nd quarter, there was—as there has been with every other NightWatch home game this year—a sense of impending doom. Nashville was broken 4 times in a brutal 2nd quarter and that was that.
It felt like the NightWatch had little chance to come back, even with a whole half of ultimate to play. In the 1st three games of the season, we talked here about the grit on the NightWatch, and this is not a question of that. But, Austin had the ability to score at will on Nashville; thus, a 3-point halftime lead feels—to this spectator, at least—pretty insurmountable, which is what happened Saturday with the Sol thumping Nashville 29-22.
I don’t know what was happening on defense, but Austin found a deep threat on most of its scoring plays, and when Nashville got a turnover on defense, it felt like a turnover was soon to follow. This wasn’t the team that battled through a tough Raleigh defense to come within a point in the 4th quarter or the squad that out-hustled Atlanta in overtime for a last second win.
Maybe today was just one of those days where the players are off, the team feng shui is not quite together, and the other team is in the zone all game. This was certainly the first game of the year that felt like nothing went right for the NightWatch. The first 5 games of the year, despite less-than-ideal results, held some serious optimism and hope that Nashville was competing in close games, could run with anybody in the South, and was going to surprise some people this year. After game 6 last Saturday, it’s easy to wonder if this team just isn’t that talented and deserves its spot in the cellar of the South.
That’s certainly how the national perspective will look at Nashville, as a team that’s where it belongs.
Still, I choose the path less travelled by. And hopefully, the NightWatch will make all the difference.