For the player, there are nerves… they sit in the pen, all eyes on them, cameras pointed, as they wait for word from the podium of who’s going to pick them. It’s like a baptism – only where the new-born babes are sat in the pews, nervously waiting to see which parent will want them. Which perhaps is why the majority of them thanked God for the opportunity. They ascend to the podium, anointed in the club scarf, and take the chance to say a few words. Then move on to sign a ball and the media maelstrom that awaits.
What a collision of people… EPSN doing a live broadcast, the massed media, the young players, all the management of all the clubs AND, standing immediately behind the club execs are the fans – right there, in their faces, chanting encouragement, excitement or, my favourite, the sardonic “Don’t screw it up, don’t screw it up …” or “You don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t know…”. Can you imagine this happening in the Premier League? It would be phenomenal.
Tension builds. Toronto FC use their 4 minutes, then take another 5 minute timeout… which isn’t a toilet break – it means a trade’sgoing on… and then the deal is announced. TFC swap their position as 4th picker with the Vancouver Whitecaps… who promptly select Kekuta Manneh – a forward from the Austin Aztex school. The diminutive young man steps up, scarf-clad, and thanks God, Parents, Coaches … for making the opportunity for him.
Five picks in, and 4 of them have thanked god first. Most go for their parents second, coaches third.. some even remember to thank the team that picks them. The Premier League should have a draft like this for the drinking game alone.
Pick 6 goes with thanking ‘the Lord’.
Pick 7 ups the ante to ‘my lord and saviour Jesus Christ’.
The vocal Columbus Crew get their first pick as Ryan Findley, a nice young manwho’s “very blessed to be here” from Notre Dame… (doesn’t thank god, does thank parents and coaches) – but his baptism is heralded by a loud “Ryyyyyan Fiiiiindley” chant from the Crew. What a way to start your professional career.