Personally, 2017 has been a difficult year. In January, my wife left me. In September, I turned 30 and got divorced. In October, the U.S. Men’s National Team failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in my life. And, today my beloved Columbus Crew SC announced a potential move to Austin, TX.
The Crew have been an important constant for me in my life, especially during this difficult year. In good times and in bad, I have always had the Crew to watch, discuss, celebrate and lament.
It looks like that constant is coming to an end.
I’m sure most of you share in the feelings that I had after reading Grant Wahl’s late-night tweet — anger, bitterness, betrayal, sadness — but know that you aren’t alone in these feelings. Each of us who have chanted along with the drums of La Turbina at one point or another is with you.
Losing something that you love sucks. There just isn't any other way to say that.
Everyone deals with grief differently, but I want to share a few important ideas that have helped me through a tough 10 months.
First, do not let anyone tell you that this loss is trivial, or that it doesn’t matter. Losing something that you love, even if it’s a sports franchise, is not trivial. This is a loss of something that you have dedicated days, months and years of your life (and money) to. Be upset. Be sad. Be angry. Your feelings of loss and betrayal are important and valid.
Second, express your grief. Talk about it. Write about it. Tweet about it. But be kind and remember, this is not Grant Wahl’s fault, this is not the fault of any of your fellow Crew fans, not the fault of your season ticket rep and this is not your fault.
Feel the anger that you need to feel at Anthony Precourt, but remember that he is a human being with a family. He has made a decision that dramatically affects each of us, but right or wrong, he had the power to make that decision and will have to live with any consequences. Express your frustration in a reasonable manner but always act with kindness.
Finally, never forget any of this and how important this was and is to you. Hold onto the joy from the 2008 season, the elation of hosting a MLS Cup in 2015, the heartbreak of losing that same MLS Cup. But most importantly of all, maintain the friendships you’ve developed in the Nordecke, working on tifos, and pre-gaming at the mega tailgate.
All of these memories are important because of the people that you shared them with. These friendships are what kept bringing you back to the Crew, not the group of guys wearing yellow (and sometimes black…or red and teal during that disastrous and ironic “For Columbus” season).
Maybe the Crew will play in Columbus in 2019 and maybe they won’t, but the women and men we chanted “Columbus ‘til I die” with aren’t going anywhere. THEY are Columbus and so are you.