It was a bleak night, and only the mice were around to keep me company. The banks of the Delaware provided little comfort, and the only light was that of the refineries. I was hungry, cold, and tired. Still, I soldiered on. What choice did I have? I had come this far - I couldn't turn back now.
I had been sent days ago to report on the Philadelphia Union's impending release of their out of contract players and the players to whom contract options had been declined. I was to monitor activities, and report back when all was said and done. Things had to be reported by 5:00 PM Eastern on Monday, December 7th. I'd brought enough provisions to last until the end. Little did I know the terrible odyssey I would undergo.
The deadline came and went, and while MLS released their list of free agents and players available for selection in the Re-Entry Draft, I wasn't here for that. I was here to see what Union players weren't coming back. Little did I know I would be among those left in the cold.
When the sun set on that first night, I was forced to take shelter in an abandoned shipping container. I built a small fire using wood from a pallet and some oil from just under Lot B. I was able to find some discarded tifo that I used as a blanket. I slept under Zolo Ram giving the shocker. You do what you have to do in order to survive.
Dawn broke on the second day. I was able to catch a mouse for food, and instantly I thought of my contemporaries at Black and Red United. Had D.C. United released their list? Were they in the same situation as I was? I hoped they were dining well on raccoon and the weeds from the upper bowl of RFK Stadium, even while I had a lone mouse. I waited patiently in my encampment for some sign that the news was coming, but it never did.
When the sun was at its apex, I decided to think only in Spanish, pero yo no requerde cómo lo dice mousetrap so I decided to continue in English. I wondered if civilization continued on, or if time had stopped for everyone as it had for me. I felt like I was living at the edge of the world at the end of all time.
Fortunes turned as the sun dipped below the horizon of the old Teber Lot. I found a rotted log full of grubs and beetles by the river. It was sustenance. I wept with joy.
Still, as night fell and the temperature dropped, so did my spirits. I fear the list may never come, and it will just be the mice and I in the encampment until one day our roles are reversed and I have become their dinner.