Posted By RichC on February 6, 2017
This past weekend while killing a few minutes, I had an enjoyable conversation with a nice young man about 2017 Superbowl LI. After finding out I always lived in Ohio, he introduced himself as Mike and ask how I liked growing up in the mid west, saying that he grew up on the east coast. His family was from Rhode Island … and in my eyes pretty much guaranteeing he would be a Patriots fan? He stressed to me he was a die-hard Red Sox fan (we were both disgusted over the Reds, but excitement for the Indians), but a mediocre Patriots fan. I reflected on Ohio being a great place to live, work and raise a family; he concurred after just a few years in Columbus … but said now he was moving to Atlanta. I was positive about Atlanta hinting that we have family in Alpharetta (North of Atlanta) who think it is great. He reflected on how much he and his family have enjoyed Columbus and were going into the new move by renting their home rather than selling it … thinking they "might eventual move back to Ohio when he retires." (Hm … slightly confused … I thought he said he was only 33?)
He asked me a bit more about my work as we began talking about our kids, mentioning they wanted their two kids to finish out their year of grade school. We eventually turned our conversation back to his dilemma of who to root for in the Superbowl — Pat or Falcons — finally mentioning his boss owns the Falcons and the new Atlanta MLS team who he works/plays for. We laughed and agreed it was probably best to root for the Falcons and not mention his fondness for the Patriots.
I slowly put a few more pieces together realizing he was Michael Parkhurst, a MLS soccer player and the the Columbus Crew team captain for the last 3 years. He was fresh off a trade sending him to the new expansion team – Atlanta United. The move and change was going to be a challenge, but as he said, all the players were in the same boat — they were all new.
I could tell the change and move was still tough, but he said this was the busy time of year for him preparing for the upcoming season and that he was focused on working … as we laughed about our unfinished home projects (kitchen for me, bathroom for him). We wished each other well and I joked that he was a great ambassador for soccer and may have converted one more anti-soccer American over. "One person at a time, " he replied with a smile.