Friend’s Crew SC bachelor party reminds author of club’s spirit

I found the question, though asked innocently, pretty funny: “So why do the Crew want a new stadium?”

At that moment, we were crossing 17th Avenue as if in a game of “Frogger,” having just left the hotel where my friend's bachelor party was staying, and thus, some were “pre-gaming.”

We were on our way to Mapfre Stadium for the Sept. 1 match against New York City FC. And at least two among the five of us had already complained about not taking an Uber for the half-mile trek.

So, yeah, not exactly the same pre-game atmosphere as enjoying a pint at the historic 17th-century tavern, The Eight Bells, prior to a Fulham match in West London. Or being among 20,000 Cologne fans walking down the street together before a 2017 Europa League match against Arsenal. (We did, however, see a rainbow along I-71.)

After 20 minutes or so, we arrived at the stadium, bought tickets at the walk-up window and quickly made our way through security. And I mean quickly — weirdly so, in fact.

Someone from our group even said as much: “Wow, that was the quickest I've ever made it through a security line.”

Twitter rumors had plenty to say about what caused the uncharacteristically quick entrance into Mapfre. But Crew SC staff, when questioned by Dispatch reporter Andrew Erickson, categorically denied understaffing security personnel for the match.

I wasn't complaining, though. We were there in time for kick-off and the match that unfolded was transcendent, sublime —the perfect showcase for the few in our group who had never been to the stadium, seen a Crew match or watched a professional soccer game before.

And after the game, on our walk back to the hotel, my earlier frustrations about pre-game atmosphere were put to rest when the prevailing talk was about the game, the ending (Meram with the winner!) and how much fun everyone had.

It hit me. Though the phrase is not so much in vogue any more, I remembered why “We are! MASSIVE!” became such a rallying cry several years ago.

The odds may not be in our favor, the deck may be stacked against us, but we will prevail.

Our stadium, though rich with history, might not be much to look at it, but it's ours. Our game-day atmosphere might not be the stuff of legend. But we've sure enjoyed the hell out of it through the years.

We've survived one absentee owner already. What's another one, sandbagger or no?

We've long been the leaders of the league — whether with season ticket commitments the first season, overall attendance in subsequent years, or the first soccer-specific stadium.

And we will be again.

Maybe it's the win and the good omen of that rainbow talking, but I'm more confident than ever we'll be victorious once more.

This isn't over. Tell everyone you know.