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Why I’m a Crew SC Fan: a Diehard’s Fire

Collin Johnson’s constant connection to Ohio

MLS: Portland Timbers at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the refreshed Massive Report! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to do the same, head over to the FanPosts to begin. We’re collecting all of the stories here. Come Fan With Us!

I genuinely can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a Columbus Crew SC supporter. I grew up in a small, Appalachian town about 80 miles south of Columbus, and most of my rooting interests reflect that geography. Crew SC, however, was the first team that I actually had season tickets for.

Around 2002, my father bought us two season tickets to Crew SC. I’m sure that I had been to a match before this, but my oldest memory of visiting MAPFRE Stadium was for the 2001 MLS Cup Final, an extra-time win for Landon Donovan’s San Jose Earthquakes. For the next five years, until I left Ohio for college, we sat in the old North End, now replaced with the stage, which housed Crew SC’s rowdiest supporters.

One of my most vivid memories of this time in the old North End is a match against the Metrostars featuring a young Tim Howard. The North Enders were especially cruel to Howard during that match, suggesting that the Metrostars keeper had a proclivity for keeping candy in his pockets among other, more lurid, suggestions. But what stuck with me, was after the match when Howard turned and clapped toward the North End to thank us for 45 minutes of razzing. We returned Howard’s thanks with applause of our own.

I graduated high school and left Ohio for good in 2006. Since then, my support of Crew SC has only grown. During summers, I would attend matches whenever possible, frequently getting suckered into the “Crew SC plays (insert English team) friendly.” Plus, whenever Columbus played the Chicago Fire, I could make the trip to Bridgeview to join my fellow Crew SC supporters in rooting on the Black & Gold.

Before the days of MLS Live, I have a fond memory of huddling around a tiny TV, watching Crew SC dominate the New York Red Bulls in the 2008 MLS Cup, and while my current viewing options have changed (praise be to MLS Live and HD TVs) you’ll still find me glued to my TV on Crew SC match day.