Life comes at you fast. I can remember Valentine's Days of old. It doesn't seem like that long ago I was passing along heart shaped candies to elementary school crushes. Now I'm looking at nine different sublimely celebrated February 14ths with my wife of 3+ years. I am grateful for everyone one of those moments because unfortunately this day is not a timeout from tragedy.
Two years ago, the Chicago Fire family lost one of its greatest supporters in Al Hack. Chicago Fire Original Peter Wilt wrote about what Hack meant to not just the Chicago Fire but to Chicago soccer in a Pitch Invasion essay that really is one of the very best. I never had the honor of meeting Mr. Hack. However, I imagine he would be very happy to see the announcement that Chicago Fire Original C.J. Brown will be inducted into the Ring of Fire took place on February 14th.
The new season is almost here and the excitement is building for the 2012 opening of Toyota Park. The lives of people like Al Hack remind us that the excitement doesn't necessarily come from the play on the field but also from the camaraderie we share with fellow fans. Al's daughter Nicole captured it very well for Peter Wilt in that essay.
"Obviously, Allie, my mom and I were also his soccer buddies," Nicole said. "He thought that soccer would keep us together as a family and I must admit it was working. The brick I bought my parents that's in front of Toyota Park says ‘A red heart can never be broken', and our hearts may be hurting right now, but it will never be broken. My dad was my ultimate soccer buddy," she said.
It's easy to look at sports and say the games are trivial. The moments being shared by loving friends and family in the stands are certainly not.