Indianapolis resident Chris Hartley has been an Indy City Futboller since the beginning, in 2014. As a resident of Herron Morton-adjacent neighborhood Kennedy King, he played for Sporting Herron Morton - enjoying a League championship along the way - for 3 seasons.
Until this year.
He announced his change in teams with huge fanfare in April on a one hour program presented exclusively on Indianapolis TV station WTHR. Deadspin.com called it the “Greatest Move in Sports History,” which was impressive considering the site’s unendingly positive reaction to the recipient of the former Greatest Move in Sports History Award: NBA star Lebron James’ and his uncontroversial move to Miami.
Emotions ran high after the announcement. “Don’t even say his name in front of me,” said longtime Sporting Herron Morton player and current manager JT Dials, spitting as if he’d just bit into a bright orange caterpillar casserole, “No [expletive] comment.”
A perennial contender, 2017 was set to be a great year for Mass Ave United.
Then they lost. And lost again. 4 games into the season, Mass Ave had only won 1 game, and then they lost star striker Brady Pierce, hospitalized after an elbow to the kidney.
While Mass Ave’s loss of Pierce has given Hartley more of the available playing time up front, the League is rumored to be looking into whether the elbow that sidelined Pierce was actually delivered by Hartley.
In the meantime, Sporting Herron Morton is sitting pretty at 4-1. “We have no idea why Chris left” a long-time SHM player who only commented with the promise of anonymity. “We’re one big family. I mean seriously, there are kids everywhere.”
Last week, Mass Ave United beat Real West. Hartley was out of town on vacation. He couldn’t be reached for comment for this article, but was recently heard asking whether next season was more than 9 months away.