The term Football Family gets tossed about quite frequently around these parts. You know, the folks that you meet and have become friends with over time at Dick's Sporting Goods Park (and before that, Mile High). They are the kind of people that you can grill a burger or brat with and have a beer in the parking lot before a match. They are good and honest people that have watched your kids grow up and people you have come to consider family.
Your Football Family.
In my decade of coming to Colorado Rapids matches I have had a chance to meet some incredible people and, like them, I am greatly concerned with the direction that the Rapids are going. So very concerned that my partner and I had considered not renewing our season tickets. As hard as it is to imagine for us, we really debated whether being a Season Ticket Holder for the Rapids was worth it again.
We have never gone to games to see a ton of victories. The Rapids, sadly, over their history have lost more times then they have won. They have never really had the home fortress that everyone wants. If Major League Soccer had a single table (which they should, but that is a different story) The Rapids would be that team that is regularly in the 12th-17th spot. Yes, there have been the occasional playoff berth, and certainly 2010 was magical, but this is a small market team in a league that is becoming more and more dominated by the big clubs.
But for us, going to the games is not about the final results. It is about family.
I have never hid the fact that the Rapids have helped in the recovery of my Partner Stephanie and our daughter Giada after their accident in 2012. And the Rapids front office has been critical in allowing my Autistic son be able to attend games in the most comfortable manner possible. We look at the games together at Dick's Sporting Goods Park as family date nights (for as cheesy as that sounds) and look forward to going to them.
Life is hard, and for us, the Rapids offer an escape from real life to spend time together. Cause after all, it is just soccer.
But the question to renew is a real one. The team appears to be in free fall and in a fair bit of disarray right now. Popular players are being sold and unproven ones are being brought in. The Rapids have won just five games in the last calendar year and I, like many supporters, are concerned. What is the plan? What is the direction? How will the Rapids compete in MLS 3.0?
So when Stephanie and I made the decision to renew, we did not make it lightly. The Rapids are a significant financial commitment for us and we are not in the business of tossing money down the drain.
So why renew then for a team that seems to be falling into irrelevancy? Why give the Rapids several thousand dollars over the course of a season?
Is it because I Bleed Burgundy? Sure, I do. But that's not the reason.
Is it because the RedHeads enjoy going to games? They sure do, but that's not the reason.
Is it because I am the Managing Editor of Burgundy Wave? Sure. But I can watch games at home or in the press box.
For us, it is the belief that one day the Rapids will figure this thing out and start winning games. It is that hope that one day the team will get it together and start turning these 2-1 losses into 2-1 victories. It is desire that one day the club will play that attractive and free flowing soccer that has been promised.
I have faith and optimism that this club will get it all together (cue the comments that I am full of shit on this view). It is remembering the smile on the face of Jared Watts when he scored against RSL. Or Bobby Burling running around the field like a kid when he scored against Columbus this weekend. Or the passion that Clint Irwin had after stopping the PK in 2013 against RSL.
We remember those times and as we decided to put our 10% down for 2016, that was paramount. Is it head over heart or heart over head? I don't know about those things, but what I do know is that we feel good about this choice.
Now, I am not writing about this to encourage people to renew or not renew. This is a very individual decision and I know that there are supporters who want to hear how the conference call goes tomorrow and want to know how the season is going to end. I get that. I really do. And the decision we made works for us, but maybe not you. And that is OK.
But, like many Rapids fans, I want to see progress. If there is a third consecutive season (in 2016) of middling soccer and no chance at the playoffs, our decision might be different at this time in 2016. The Rapids do need to improve and get better and all that jazz....their loyal and passionate supporters deserve it.
And for those people that commit a great deal of money to this club deserve it. Football is a family. Family is hard and requires commitment to make it work. We have met our half of the deal by renewing. Now it is up to the Rapids to hold up their end and put a team out there that will make us, and everyone who loves this club, proud of it.