It’s a monumental week for the Columbus Crew with the opening of Lower.com Field, just days away. The Crew will host the New England Revolution on July 3 in the first game at its new downtown home. Accompanying the match will be the start of new fan traditions.
The Nordecke unveiled its plan for two significant new fan traditions that includes the singing of the famous “Wise Men Say” song at the start and close of every Crew home game. The tradition that required a bit more explaining was the upcoming post-goal celebration that includes a supporter operating a jackhammer as an ode to the original Columbus Crew logo and history.
Wednesday afternoon, the Nordecke released a statement explaining the new “Return of the Hard Hats” goal celebration, its reasoning behind picking it and how exactly it will work.
The statement reads:
Crew players and Nordecke worked together to create a unique goal celebration that can live on within the stadium to intimidate opponents.
In early June, players, player representatives, and members of the team approached Nordecke leadership to discuss creating a unique goal celebration for the new stadium. This was something that originated within the locker room and was something they really wanted for the purposes of disrupting play once a goal is scored. They want a distraction that hypes the team and the fans.
Collectively we went to the club to discuss this and while the club had additional ideas those were set aside in favor of those originating from the players and Nordecke. The only guideline we were ultimately given was that it must be rolled out on 7/3.
Seeking to hear from as many people as possible while still keeping the potential celebrations a surprise for most fans, Nordecke leadership reached out to a selection of Nordecke volunteers, Nordecke members, representatives of various supporters groups, Nordecke STMs, and non-Nordecke STMs for input.
Two consistent themes emerged. First, that the celebration should pay homage to the club’s history and heritage involving the three original construction workers. Second, that this should not resemble Timber Joey and rather than being a single individual, that it should be multiple representatives from both Nordecke and the larger Crew community.
The idea to use a jackhammer originated with both the Nordecke and the players and we found it to be a way to refer back to the hard hats and the players found it to be incredibly disruptive to play. Once we had this basic concept, we mapped out the rest of details very quickly. Ownership was in full support and quickly came on board providing logistics for it.
Prior to a match three individuals will be selected to represent the original three construction workers of the original Crew logo. While the participants will change with each match, the selected individuals will represent club, community, and supporters respectively. Individuals will be appointed from player alumni/club, a representative of the Nordecke/supporter groups, and finally someone will be appointed from the Crew community-Columbus at large. The Nordecke will appoint the individuals participating from both the supporters and community. These individuals will wear construction vests and hard hats to match the original logo but will not be in a costume.
The Nordecke/Supporters representative will serve as the primary person operating the jackhammer while the other two will be engaged helping prepare the bricks and jackhammer. The Supporter volunteer will first place the jackhammer on a steel plate painted with the opposing team’s crest and shatter the paint on camera throughout the stadium. Not only visually disheartening to the opposing team this is incredibly loud. While this is happening the club volunteer will place the bricks in position for the Supporter to then break. Once the brick is broken the piece will be taken by the community volunteer and placed into a wall display that runs the length of the tunnel.
Following the match the brick will be fixed with a plaque that commemorates the players and match of the goal creating a wall of all the goals scored at the stadium. For Crew players and supporters, the wall will be a testimony to every goal in the club’s history and heritage. For the opposing players it will be a visible reminder of every goal scored against them.
The Nordecke representatives will rotate amongst trained individuals for the purposes of safety and will be announced the week of each home game.
The statement comes after news broke of the goal celebration from Jacob Myers of the Columbus Dispatch on Tuesday morning. A handful of Crew supporters voiced some displeasure in the celebration with various criticisms on the “gimmicky nature” of this tradition and potential safety issues with a powerful construction tool.
Those criticisms were before all the details were revealed from the Nordecke, which clarifies some safety concerns, the origin of the idea, which comes from both Nordecke and Crew players, the exact execution of the celebration and impact it will have on opposing teams and building a legacy and history in the new Lower.com Field.
After reading through the details, do you like the “Return of the Hard Hats” goal celebration? Comment below on your thoughts of this new Crew tradition.
The Black & Gold will hopefully hear some jackhammering on Saturday when they host the Revolution at Lower.com Field. The match kicks off around 5:30 p.m. ET with television coverage on ESPN slated to start at 5 p.m. EST.