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Let's Show the League Why Columbus Set the Standard for Support

Members of the Nordecke cheer their beloved Black and Gold to victory
Members of the Nordecke cheer their beloved Black and Gold to victory

Long before the Timbers Army sang the Star Spangled Banner on ESPN to kick off the 2011 season at Jeld-Wen Field, members of the Nordecke were drowning out Banner performers at Crew Stadium before every match.

Before fans in Seattle were holding their scarves above their heads, proudly supporting their boys at CenturyLink Field, Crew fans were waving bar scarves in tribute to their own team during every match at Crew Stadium.

Before the Sons of Ben were featured in the British version of GQ Magazine because of their support for the Philadelphia Union, the Hudson Street Hooligans opened their own bar.

But nowadays, with every new expansion club drawing the love of the national media –and the league front office–many have forgotten the proud history of support that has been fostered in Columbus.

At the beginning of the 2008 season, after the stage was added to the north end of Crew Stadium, the three main Crew supporters groups came together in the northeast corner and the Nordecke was born. And though fans were loud and rowdy before then, the birth of the Nordecke brought about a sea change in Crew support and set the standard for MLS supporter sections going forward. Things haven't been the same since.

As we close on the 2012 home opener tomorrow against newcomers Montreal, I encourage everyone to keep the early days of the Nordecke in mind. The growing pains of 2008 were rough, but we came through it stronger than anyone ever thought possible. Late last season, when MLS Commissioner Don Garber came to town to kick off the Crew's "Dare to Be Massive" campaign, he said that "the Nordecke really represented our first true supporters section. You guys deserve a lot of credit for that."

Damn right we do. We worked hard to foster the culture of support that has grown here in Columbus, organically going from just a bunch of people cheering for a soccer team to a group of creative, dedicated individuals that take pride in their community. The growing pains of that first Nordecke season are still being worked out, but each game, each year we get stronger, bettter and more - dare I say - Massive.

When the opening whistle blows tomorrow at Crew Stadium, and we as fans embark on another season together in The House that Lamar Built, let's show the rest of the league that even though Columbus isn't on ESPN every month and doesn't have the big names that other clubs do, we support our club as fervently as any group in MLS.

Here in Columbus, we may not have the numbers that they do in Seattle, or the "cool factor" that they do in Portland or the attitude problem of those SoB's in Philly, but we by God have a history and culture of our own. Let's show the rest of MLS that the Columbus flavor of support is just as tasty as anyone's.