I tried very hard to be a Colorado Rapids fan for a long time. My family used to be season's ticket holders, we definitely had some good times, and I was ecstatic when the Rapids partnered with my beloved Arsenal (Kroenke is owner of The Rapids, and now owns a big chunk of the London club). I had dreams of coaching and academy exchanges, raising the quality of the Rapids' game.
It's nice to have a local team to support, and many of my good friends with whom I play amateur football follow them; Marcelo Balboa, Rapids and US National team legend (to the extent that you can say "legend" in such modest context) is a stalwart of little Superior, where I live, and my oldest son has been a regular at his skills camps. But the tickets became more and more expensive as the family grew and as they raised rates, and frankly the football on the pitch was just getting worse and worse, so we gave up a few years ago. I've barely followed them since, though I do still go to games when one of my friends has a good deal on tickets, largely for the tailgating.Well last night, for the first time in ages I was actually eager to go (I started out looking forward to the arrival of Thierry Henry's New York, but then I saw how Henry was looking a shadow of himself in MLS). Rapids have had a rare good run in the playoffs, and last night was the Eastern conference championship against the San Jose Earthquake. The fact that Colorado and San Jose can play an Eastern conference anything is just another marker of the MLS's penchant for silliness, but hey, they play the games they're assigned and I figured it was an experience not to be missed.
My friend Ariel got me a good deal on a ticket, and I bundled up for the cold night (right around 0°C all the while). The game was dire. If that is MLS quality with a trip to the cup final on the line, the league still has miles to go. Everyone was static, and making half-hearted runs off the ball on both teams, and there was no dynamism of build-up. But what matters is that Rapids scored the one goal that made the difference. Here is the victorious home team's procession around the ground with the conference cup.
Right now, though, I'm turning my attention to the Gunners. Win required from a tough fixture away at Everton. Come on Captain Jesus!
Regardless of how lifeless the game had been, and my recent absence from the Rapids scene, I was yelling like crazy and thoroughly enjoying the moment. I guess it's some sort of recompense for those years as a season's ticket holder when the product on the field was just as ugly (well I do remember fondly a 4-0 demolition of LA while Beckam was playing under coach Gullit) but the Rapids weren't winning anything. Colorado went to the MLS Cup final in the inaugural MLS season, and it's about time we got back there. I'll be sure to head to a bar with good atmosphere and a bunch of friends to watch the final broadcast from Toronto, and once again, I'll tolerate a dire game, as long as the boys bring the cup back to the Rockies. In the words of the unimaginative fan chant, Let's go Rapids! Let's go! CLAP! CLAP!