There’s Rapids merch, dope Rapids merch, and then there’s gotta-have-it Rapids merch. The hoodie my wife got my two years ago for my birthday with a vinyl panel covering the top half of it was merch, but not anything special. Actually, it was kind of weird. I mailed it back to the Amazon.
The Tim Howard ‘Secretary of Defense’ scarf that was issued when he first landed in Denver, with his big, intimidating bald head on one side and ‘Secretary of Defense’ on the other- that was dope merch.
Tonight the Rapids offer gotta-have-it merch: a technicolor rainbow flag scarf in support of LGBT Pride, celebrated this month around the United States and recognized with parades and other events. Denver held it’s annual Pride parade this past Sunday.
The Rapids issued this scarf as part of Pride Night. The club specially invites the LGBT community to the game and recognizes them and offers ticket packages that include the scarf. A portion of the proceeds from scarf sales will benefit the LGBT community.
According to VP of Ticket Sales Emily Maguire, the Rapids have been coordinating a special event with the LGBT community in Denver “for about six or seven years now.”
Maguire explained that the scarf design came out of the Rapids group sales department. “It’s a credit to Irene and her manager and team for coming up with that concept. It’s taking the pride of the LGBT community, putting it on the scarf, but also to incorporate Rapids elements and elements of Denver in there, too.”
Proceeds this year will go to GLBT Colorado, an organization that Emily described as “a cornerstone organization within the community here that puts on Denver Pride and Pridefest every year. They are catalyst for celebrate equal rights and Denver’s diverse community.” GLBT Colorado describes itself as:
the largest community center in the Rocky Mountain region, giving voice to Colorado’s LGBT community and playing a pivotal role in statewide initiatives to reduce harassment and discrimination. (Per the GLBT Colorado website)
The Rapids celebration of Pride syncs up with MLS’ ongoing ‘Don’t Cross the Line’ campaign, as Maguire explained that the league endeavors to make the stadium experience for fans and players alike one that celebrates the diversity that makes up soccer culture in America.
“It’s about equality and fairness for everyone. That means people being respectful of each other in the stands, players being respectful of each other on the field, and everything in between.”
As fans, we unite behind our colors. Whether our kids play for different youth clubs or go to different competing schools; whether we practice diffferent religions; if we speak different languages or come from different ethnicities or have different sexual orientations or gender modalities; when we come together as fans, we all unite behind the burgundy, blue, and yellow. Tonight, we add the whole rainbow to that color palate.
— — — — — — — —
Special thanks to Emily Maguire for taking the time for an interview with Burgundy Wave, and thanks to Irene Lahana for taking the lead on having the Colorado Rapids celebrate Pride.