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Let’s take care of our Rapids family

There’s more to a supporter group than the play on the pitch.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The entire Burgundy family not only enjoyed, but felt a sense of relief in ending our oh-fer on the road as our Colorado Rapids beat the Houston Dynamo, undefeated at home up until Saturday’s match. Seeing Stefan Aigner in the match and that 20-yard cross that landed on the area of a postage stamp gave many in Burgundy Nation hope and a robust call to start the lad!

The excitement lasts only a while - until the next match.

We all know that there are things more important than soccer. We saw it when everyone came together to support Kort Ford and his mother, and when supporters stuck around to cheer on the Special Olympics team, even though they could have easily just gone home after the Rapids won. In those moments, we are more than just soccer fans, we are family.

Allow me a broach a subject that is not directly Rapids related as far as play on the pitch, but could impact any one of our lives.

On Saturday, I conducted the funeral of a young man who committed suicide at the age of 13. I was asked because his grandmother has been a member of my church since 1973, and given the situation and given how much I love and respect her for countless reasons, I readily agreed but immediately felt the gravity of the situation.

I listened to the father and all of this young man’s friends say how he walked around always happy, always making others feel better, and how much of a joy he was to be around. He was supremely gifted athletically, showing promise for a future in college athletics at minimum. Given that the church was virtually packed at around 900 people, he and his family were clearly loved, and all were clearly stunned.

For many of us, it’s not just about going out and supporting our favorite soccer team week after week - those we cheer with in the stands have become genuine friends and a part of our lives.

On September 10, the day I wrote this, is World Suicide Prevention Day. According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention website:

Every year, more than 800,000 people die by suicide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt. Behind these statistics are the individual stories of those who have, for many different reasons, questioned the value of their own lives.

Each one of these individuals is part of a community. Some may be well linked in to this community, and have a network of family, friends and work colleagues or school mates. Others may be less well connected, and some may be quite isolated. Regardless of the circumstances, communities have an important role to play in supporting those who are vulnerable.

We as Rapids supporters are a community of supporters who not only care about the results on the pitch, but also care about the lives of those who sit next to us, those who contribute to discussion boards we frequent, and those we talk with regularly on social media. We have plenty of outlets in which to reach out and talk to someone who cares to help us seek help.

For many, sports serve as a diversion from life. But then life happens. And if life happens and it seems a bit too much, then reach out and talk to someone. You’re not alone. We are passionate about our Rapids, but we are also passionate to take care of each other. If you are a member of a religious or other community organization, pull aside a leader and let them in on what’s happening in your heart and mind. Talk to your significant other. Talk to a friend. Call someone somewhere and get some help (if you can’t think of a local organization, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255).

One gentlemen who survived a suicide attempt said this: “I instantly realized that everything in my life that I'd thought was unfixable was totally fixable — except for having just jumped.”

Let’s not just be connected by our love for a sports club. Let’s take care of our Rapids family.