In Lin Manuel-Miranda’s smash Broadway hit Hamilton – the story about the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton – there is a song early in the musical titled “My Shot”. As an immigrant, the song captures Hamilton’s determination to not throw away his shot to use his knowledge, leadership and vision to help lead the American Revolution and later play an integral role in the establishment of the United States of America.
The beginning of the song starts like this:
I am not throwing away my shot
I am not throwing away my shot
Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot
If Major League Soccer (MLS) awards Sacramento with an expansion franchise, a reality that may come to fruition as early as December, it will be because a young, scrappy and hungry Sacramento refused to throw away its shot too.
As I have previously opined, when the Republic arrived in 2014, there was a sense that this was exactly what Sacramento needed. The Republic dared us to dream big, and made us believe that Sacramento (a city that had historically either said no or froze at opportunity) could become the vibrant, hip city that we’re now seeing emerge. Seemingly overnight, the Republic became part of the fabric and pride of Sacramento.
It seems like just yesterday that MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott was conducting an initial site visit to our city. That was September 2014 if you can believe it. Looking back now, it feels like a defining moment where the Republic, our elected officials, investors, fans and community collectively said, “MLS is asking us to do what? OK, let’s deliver on what they need and do it quick like.” I am intentionally oversimplifying, but the point is we’ve come a long way in three years. But how far?
Well, let this sink in Sacramento: we are on the verge of joining our country’s elite soccer league, and it’s only possible because of Warren Smith, who had the vision to deliver us professional soccer and the Republic. It’s also because of former Mayor Kevin Johnson, who, fresh off securing a downtown arena, helped line up key investors, a privately financed stadium plan and broker early conversations with the league.
It’s because of Kevin Nagle, who has been instrumental in taking Sacramento’s MLS bid to the next level both from a monetary and strategy perspective.
Credit is also due to the fans that have filled Papa Murphy’s Park (PMP) night in and night out to support the Club, and the Tower Bridge Battalion whose continuous chants and songs loudly fill PMP at matches providing an unparalleled atmosphere.
The Republic staff have worked tirelessly to deliver on and off the pitch, as well as the folks behind the scenes working with Nagle on the MLS bid.
Above all though, if Sacramento is awarded an expansion spot, it’s because we collectively believed in our future and acted and demonstrated that this was our destiny all along. When it was time to rise to the challenge, we answered the call.
Is there a chance MLS doesn’t pencil out for us? Sure. But even if MLS does not become a reality for Sacramento, we can all say without a doubt that we did not throw away our shot.
But if recent history is any indicator (see Sacramento Kings), like Hamilton, Sacramento refuses to lose, and from that perspective, I like our chances.