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An Ode To Work Bae

A story of falling in love with the Chicago Red Stars... as an Orlando Pride fan

Photo by Shaina Benhiyoun

Hi! My name is Adriana Hooper and I’m the Social Media Manager at Hot Time In Old Town. Let me tell you all why someone from California, someone who has rooting interest in Orlando Pride, is now all in on the Chicago Red Stars as they head into the playoffs.

When I started managing Social Media at Hot Time at the beginning of 2018, our Chicago Red Stars Editor Sandra affectionately started calling the Red Stars my ‘Work Bae.’ That’s because I am an Orlando Pride fan but also followed the Red Stars and consider them my “second” team.

Do people still allow that? Am I going to get complainers for supporting two teams?

Anyways, without a local team to follow I picked a team and the rest is history. That’s the beginning story at least. After a disappointing season for my ‘Main Bae’ in 2018 I started paying a lot closer attention to the Red Stars and what they were accomplishing in the latter half of the season. And that led to me jumping fully onboard the Red Stars Hype Train.

What I got a glimpse of working with Hot Time is an organization supporting and nurturing the culture that is the Red Stars. I saw players supporting each other and dominating as a team. The team looked cohesive, the team looked together, and the team looked ready to take on whoever was next. There was a lot of positivity to what was next and whatever task awaited the team next.

My perspective on this year’s run to the playoffs comes as a general fan of the NWSL supporting another team, but more of an outsider for the Red Stars. When the season began, missing Sam Kerr, plus dealing with some key injuries, I figured the Red Stars may find themselves on the outside looking in on the playoffs.

But as they slowly started getting their full team back and gelled, a tide seemed to shift. A shift in thinking, a shift in play, and really, a shift in the way they decided they were not going to go that way anymore. And after their loss to league-leading North Carolina on July 4th, they never looked back, with only one more loss to come in their remaining games.

Watching the games each week, you honestly didn’t know what you were going to get. Would you get a Sam Kerr special or an Ertz double? Another ball on a platter from Nagasato? It made the games exciting as an outsider but as the season wound down, I went from outsider to believer. The Red Stars were on a tear and seemed poised and ready to make a serious run into the playoffs.

Working at Hot Time and being around people who are dedicated and engaged in seeing this team succeed makes you want this team to succeed and do all of the good things, ya know? It’s been nice to watch a team progress and feel more connected than you did at the beginning of the season because of how they come together.

And to be honest, this entire NWSL season has felt like A Lot. Each week felt like something new and crazy was going to come out. Something dramatic would happen. Another wrong call would decide key moments in a game. The Pride blowing another game. And it felt like my love for the NWSL was waning just a bit with all of the drama surrounding the game on and off the pitch.

But here in came the Red Stars. They’re having fun, they’re going with the flow, but they’re competing to win the highest honor, the NWSL championship. And who wouldn’t want to support a team like that?

So what are you waiting for? Be like me and hop aboard the train before it’s too late. There’s room for everybody.