The Crew’s awards night was a couple days ago now and I don’t disagree on any of the choices for the awards. You can find the whole list over at the Black and Gold Standard. I will mention that Danny O’Rourke is a fine MVP choice; he has played wherever the team needed him.
Beyond that, I was struck by the passion that has really developed around this team and I think that the Crew actually get this. The first award was given out to Rick Thomas. I had never met Mr. Thomas, but I knew his work.
This man has been making banners for over ten years for Crew games. He’s made dozens of them. From when the supporters section numbered in the dozens to now when it’s in the thousands. He wants others to feel that same passion he does and to bring some of that to the games.
Mr. Thomas truly believes anyone can do what he does and I think he’s right. Many people may not make banners, but they certainly have brought a voice to the stadium, waved a flag, or just came and cheered. Later, I had a chance to talk at length to some of the people that work countless hours to organize the supporters section. They aren’t doing it for glory, they feel that passion and it is truly a labor of love.
For all of the troubles that the Crew have had with striking the balance with the supporters, their decision to give the Fan of the Year award to Mr. Thomas shows they understand their fans a little more they are given credit for. It’s an inspired choice to give an award to a man who literally displays his passion game after game. Painting tifos in a small apartment, driving from Toledo, just so he can support his team. That’s a passion that keeps me coming back to the stadium.