Nashville may be widely known as Music City, USA, but what you may not know is just how diverse their range of interest is when it comes to sports. From professional teams to private athletic clubs, Nashville seems to have all its bases covered.
Formerly the Houston Oilers, the NFL team moved to Tennessee in 1997 and played at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis. After just one season, the Titans made their home in the state’s capital city of Nashville, playing at Vanderbilt Stadium. Today, the team calls LP Field their home. While the Titans certainly bring spirit to the field during their regular games, they also enjoy raising spirits in their off time. Every Tuesday during the football season, staff and team members spend their afternoons visiting local hospitals, bringing a bit of cheer to the patients there. From simple sprains, chemotherapy patients, to parents-to-be, the Titans are there to show their appreciation for the community support they receive.
Nashville put forth quite an effort to get ahold of a National Hockey League franchise, beginning their journey in 1995. By 1998, the Predators were ready to hit the ice in the Nashville Arena. During the 2001-2002 season, the Predators recorded their 100th victory as a franchise, making them the second-fastest expansion team to reach the 100-win plateau. Predators fans are arguably among the most devoted of all Nashville sports enthusiasts. Among stranger traditions, like tossing catfish onto the ice after Nashville’s first game goal are Fang Fingers, and section 303, The Cellblock, otherwise known as “the loudest section of the loudest arena in the NHL.” In a sold-out arena during an April 2008 home game against the St. Louis Blues, the team was given a standing ovation throughout the entire period of the final timeout. The Predators won, and moved on to the playoffs that year. The standing ovation has since become a fan tradition during the final TV timeouts.
Keeping in tune with the Music City theme, Nashville’s minor league baseball team was named appropriately. The Sounds were formed in 1978 as a Double-A team, and in 1985, moved up to Triple-A level. Of course, baseball had been a part of Nashville history for much longer. Union soldiers first brought the sport to the south during the Civil War, and Nashville built a stadium at Sulphur Dell to accommodate the growing popularity of the game. Today, the team plays home games at Herschel Greer Stadium, a venue that seats more than ten thousand fans and is known for its giant, guitar shaped scoreboard. Plans have been approved for a new stadium to be built where baseball began in Nashville, a fitting new home for the Sounds in the city’s popular Germantown neighborhood.
The Kangaroos are a non-profit organization aimed toward promoting Australian Football, Netball, and Golf in Nashville. For 17 years, the Kangaroos have worked hard within their community to establish themselves as a prominent organization. By promoting cultural activities and encouraging networking among businesses and professionals, the Kangaroos have endeared themselves to Music City. Their main mission, however, is simply to continue spreading love for Australia’s favorite sports. Don’t be fooled by their name, though. They might play by Down Under rules of the game, but more than 70% of their members are not native-born Australian. All are welcome to join the Roos.
Nashville Atlas Football Club
Recently merged with the Nashville Football Club, the Atlas is determined to introduce a new semi-pro soccer club to Music City in 2014. The club, though small, has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past few years, supported almost entirely by fans and friends. In 2013, Nashville Atlas joined the National Premier Soccer League as an expansion team, and they have a full schedule of games with other southern cities during the summer. Nashville Atlas isn’t the first Music City soccer team. Not long ago, the United Soccer League’s Nashville Metros called the city home, but the team played their last season in 2012. Undaunted, soccer fans and players strive to keep the sport alive.
Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club
Formerly members of the St. Louis Gaelic Athletic Club, John Watson and Anji Wall decided to bring their love of Irish sports to their new home of Nashville in the spring of 2013. Nashville’s Gaelic Athletic Club promotes sports such as Hurling, Camogie, and Gaelic Football within the community. Hurling might be considered the mother of all sports, as it’s the oldest game currently played at over 3,000 years old. Elements of many modern sports can be found in hurling, as the game spawned Gaelic football, which in turn inspired rugby and soccer. Hockey and field hockey both feature skills derived from hurling, as well as lacrosse. The club gladly welcomes players of all skill levels, from the more experienced, to beginners alike.