Allow me introduce myself: my name is Ralph Schudel and I am a writer with the Chicago Red Star desk here at Hot Time in Old Town.
However, that isn’t where I got my start. I’ve arrived at Hot Time from its sister blog Massive Report that covers Columbus Crew SC in Columbus, Ohio.
I’ve been a season ticket holder with the Columbus Crew SC since 2013, when my parents gifted me my first season membership. My first membership was a way to celebrate my 23rd birthday and my upcoming graduation from college.
I’ve kept the tradition alive as I’ve attended numerous games including our incredible run in 2015 to the MLS Cup Final where we eventually lost to the Portland Timbers.
I joined Massive Report and subsequently Hot Time in Old Town this season as a way to expand my overall match day experience. What I got in return was something I couldn’t even imagine. I’ve met incredible people, got to talk to athletes I had previously only seen on television and covered experiences I’d never thought possible.
Last week, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl leaked a report about Precourt’s desire to relocate the team to Austin, Texas barring the construction of a stadium in downtown Columbus.
I was devastated and I couldn’t sleep. It felt as if a relative had just passed away.
The Massive Report team and I gathered in our slack channel to talk about the evening’s proceedings. I simply couldn’t believe what I was reading as the team I love so dearly was being ripped away from me and the city of Columbus.
Ever since I became a member of the credentialed media with Crew SC, I’ve felt my fandom become compromised. Win or lose, I always chased the story lines that emerged from the match.
But now, I don’t know if I will have a job this time next season and the prospect of that is absolutely terrifying. Soccer and the Columbus Crew have paved the way to me becoming a better person. I’ve been able to tap into that creative outlet that I’ve long searched for and haven’t found until now.
The showing of solidarity in the soccer community has been amazing. We’ve seen our brothers and sister’s throughout Major League Soccer stand in line with us and support the Columbus Crew. Many have said, “If it can happen to the Crew, it can happen to you.”
Here is how you can help your friends in Columbus and preserve the existence of “Firehouse East.”
- Signup at savethecrew.com and figure out how to get involved. Just because you don’t live in Central Ohio doesn’t mean you can’t help the cause. We have been privlidged to receive support from fellow MLS fans as well as clubs in the English Premier League.
- Call your ticket rep or email a club contact, let them know you stand behind the Black & Yellow
- E-mail Erica Allen at email@example.com. She is the executive assistant to MLS Commissioner Don Garber.
Thank you for your time and consideration.