I was listening the the last "Seeing Red" podcast, hosted by Dave Martinez and Mark Fishkin, and they were reading emails from their listeners about what the NY Red Bulls winning the Supporters Shield-the title for best regular season record and the teams' first major title-meant to them.
Usually I am not big on fans who invest so much into a sports franchise where their lives and mood revolve on how the team did, but some of the stories were nice to hear. They are especially nice to hear because the supporter culture ironically is usually a cesspool of negativity. After finishing hearing the episode my mind could not think about my dad.
My dad wasn't into sports, they weren't his thing. He enjoyed I liked them, especially when I was excited about the World Cup and the start of MLS. In 1996, the first year of the MetroStars and MLS, My dad surprised me and got tickets to a game. It was the famous Giovanni Savarese bycicle kick game vs. Tampa Bay.
Just before that weekend my dad hurt his knee at work and could barely walk. I remember him in pain just moving around the house. I figured we weren't going to go to the game because of this. To my surprise he insisted we still go. So he drove us to Giants Stadium, and we sat in the middle level (the old blue seat level) with a good view of the field, and I got to see professional soccer in the US play out in front of me. It was a great night, the team won in the shootout (something I wish MLS still had since draws suck IMO), and I got to share a great memory with my dad while seeing what a real dad would do for his kid-sacrifice and make sure he didn't make excuses for bringing joy to his children.
That was the only game I went to until 2000 when I got back from college. I came back from college and went to games and joined the ESC. But the catalyst of all that was my dad taking me to a game despite being in pain.
I have many fond memories of soccer. This is the one that always brings up a lot of emotions and I could never thank my dad enough for it. Up until he passed away several years ago, I always made it a point during the MLS seasons to thank him for taking me that one night. He enjoyed seeing me going to games for years after and finding a great group of people to hang out with in the ESC.
In the 12 or so years I have been a member of the ESC, its an amazing thing to see the evolution of the group, team, and league. I have had my issues with some parts of it and people who ran it, and I still have to get over some of it, but I still am proud to be a member. I hope my life calms down so I can come back to games again, but I can say its awesome to see those still there when I was going regularly enjoying the team winning.
All that I just wrote is because of my dad, and its one of many things I thank him for still to this day.