Well that didn’t go as planned. 2020 has been a lot of things we didn’t expect. After just one game we shut the league down for the health and safety of our players, staff and fans. Walking out to a practice in early May you might have thought Netflix was filming an episode of Black Mirror or the Twilight Zone. Players played in masks, and small practice pods. This was the year of the strange and the unprecedented; the different and the bizarre. But one thing 2020 was NOT was a year of disappointment.
Of course, we would have preferred a pandemic-less season filled with tailgates, tifos, a packed Isotopes Park. But I think Mick Jagger was talking about our 2020 season when he famously sang: “You can't always get what you want.”
So when things got rough, and weird, and uncomfortable for all of us, we had two choices: shut it down or do our best to turn lemons into lemonade. And if you know this club and this community, you know that quitting is never an option. So we spent 2020 squeezing lemons. A lot of lemons. And you know what? After a while those lemons started to taste pretty good.
While we couldn’t play soccer, we made the decision to focus on what we COULD do. We could sponsor blood drives that moved the blood of one New Mexican into the veins of another in need. We could drive to Navajo Nation and deliver food and supplies to help a community that once again found itself devastated and suffering more than most. We could start a foundation in the midst of a global pandemic. We could look for creative ways to bring our community together safely so that we could still have a feeling of normalcy in a completely abnormal world. When the games started, we weren’t allowed to play in New Mexico so we did the next best thing and rented someone else’s stadium and made it our own for the day. The game sold out. We could. So we did.
And the common thread to all of this is that each time we asked or organized, New Mexico showed up. Every time. No matter the ask. No matter the conditions. No matter the frequency. You showed up, and stood with us, and made us all feel proud to be New Mexicans. You could. So you did.
We often talk about New Mexico United and our vision for the next 100 years. Inevitably, when we reach that goal, people will look back on 2020. When they do, I want them to not see an asterisk next to 2020. Instead, I want them to see an exclamation point! We played our games on the road and we won a lot of them! We had zero positive COVID-19 tests! We beat the best regular season team in the playoffs! We kept saying “yes” when it was so much easier to say “no!” And we came together when it felt impossible to do so! We could. So we did.
As we approach the last few sunsets of 2020 I personally want to acknowledge each and every one of you. For those like myself who contracted and remediated COVID-19, I hope your health has fully returned. For the many others that lost loved ones during this time, my heart and thoughts are with you. I wish we could bring each and every one of them back. And while we may not be able to, know their collective legacy lives on inside of all of us who remain. We will carry their spirit forward and when we raise the Cup over our heads they will be right there with us, shoulder to shoulder, always the wind at our back, never to be forgotten. We can remember them. We can honor them. So we will. Because no matter what, Somos Unidos Siempre.
Adios 2020, Vamos 2021!
Peace, love and happiness to all.