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Ten Years a Fan: The Story of a Decade of Season Ticket Holderdum

This marks my 10th year as a Season Ticket Holder, so I looked back on what we’ve been through.

Colorado Rapids v Los Angeles Galaxy Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

President George W. Bush.

That was the man who was in the Oval Office when I officially took the plunge and signed up for season tickets back in late 2007. I had gone to a number of Rapids games at Mile High Stadium and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, but to be a season ticket holder—yikes. That seemed like a commitment that I was very unsure of. Back then tickets were a whopping $218 for a year on the East Side and that felt like a ton of money.

And yet, plunging into the unknown I went.

There has been little regret since then.

As I enter my 10th season as a Season Ticket Holder (sorry, I will never call myself a Season Ticket Member), I am excited for what this club has become...a far cry from what they were. See, for many Season Ticket Holders, especially those who just began in the last year or two, it is difficult to fully appreciate the growth that this club has undergone.

I remember a time when this club had no identity, no style.

I remember the fighting with what to do with Supporters’ Groups.

I remember the losses.

I remember the lack of big stars.

And I remember when the Front Office could not care less about their fans.

Things are still not perfect in Commerce City. Clearly, the Rapids continue to struggle to score goals. The Rapids still lag behind in the “give a crap in Denver ratings” behind the Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets, and the Avalanche (although the latter should be happy promotion and relegation does not exist in hockey).

But as a Season Ticket Holder I have discovered this amazing thing: an extended family that feels the highs and lows of being a season ticket holder. That footy family is amazing.

All in all, there has been some serious growth in the Commerce City in the last ten years, both on the field and off the field. Here are some of the most memorable moments in the last ten years for me personally:

1.The First Game

Everyone remembers their first match as a Season Ticket Holder. For me it was the Colorado Rapids vs LA Galaxy, and this one featured some dude named David Beckham. I went with my buddy Larry and neither one of us were prepared for what we were getting into. Tailgating? We did not know it existed at Dick’s. Expensive beer? $7 for a beer seemed extreme (remember, this was before craft beer actually took off as a thing).

But the soccer? Hell...that was amazing. The Rapids smoked the Galaxy and that Beckham guy 4-0 in what I thought was the precursor to something great that season (it was not). The Rapids were led by legend and fan favorite Terry Cooke (look him up if you don’t remember) and just crushed Los Angeles. It was so very awesome and a heck of a way to start my Season Ticket Holderdum.

2. That Moment in Salt Lake and the Aftermath

If you know me, you have heard this please bear with me. It was the final game of the 2009 season and the Rapids needed a result in Salt Lake to secure a playoff berth and eliminate Real Salt Lake from contention. What did the Rapids do? They completely shit the bed in Salt Lake and put on a putrid performance against our biggest rivals. The 3-0 loss belies how truly terrible the Rapids were. It was, quite simply, the worst I have ever seen this team play. To the credit of the Rapids, they held a Season Ticket Holder forum for some of us those that were there were pretty brutal as to the direction of the team.

I had a chance to meet and speak with Gaffer Gary Smith. I told him that we made the trip to Salt Lake and how bad the team looked. He shook my hand and looked me square in the eye and said: “I am sorry, and we will do better for you.” And with that....

3. The 2010 Season

Gary Smith backed up the bold statement with a title in 2010, the lone piece of silverware in the history of the Rapids. Now some fans will say the 2010 title as “cheap” as we won with an own goal, but to them I ask: is it any better than winning a title with zero shots on goal? (Looking at you Seattle). But the 2010 season was magical and it was so very rewarding to see that cup lifted.

4. A Front Office Low Light in 2011

One of the magical things about that cup run was getting to purchase a jersey with the “Scudetto” on the kit. But it was not available. And then it was not available. And then it was not available. And then it was not available. I emailed the Front Office and asked about it and I was told “it was a manufacturer issue.” The jersey finally came out in the late summer of 2011, but we became the team that fans could not buy a championship jersey until nearly a year after they won it all.

5. The First DP and Oscar Pareja

The Rapids have always been known as a cheap team (thanks KSE) and a little late to the DP party. The first DP to arrive was Gabriel Torres and he came when Oscar Pareja was our head coach. Torres did not live up to the billing of being a Designated Player, but Pareja did as a head coach. Pareja put together (at the time) the best regular season in club history in 2013, and the young Rapids were exciting and fun to watch. His departure was butchered by the Front Office, but ultimately it worked out. Pareja got to go back home to FC Dallas and the Rapids got a coach in Pablo Mastroeni who wanted to be here.

6. Big Names and People Taking Notice

Last year the Rapids caught fire and finished with the second best record in Major League Soccer and they made the biggest signing in club history in Tim Howard. I don’t know what is more shocking to me: the record from last year or signing Howard. But regardless, last season put the Rapids on the map in ways that they never were before. And with having Howard on the roster meant that Denver took notice and so did the rest of MLS.

So what will the next ten years bring me as a Season Ticket Holder? Will the Rapids regress to the mean and become average again, or will they find the fortitude to get that second star?

Honestly, I don’t know and if I am being truthful, I don’t really care. This is my club and as long as they are playing, I will be there, bleeding burgundy.