As someone that's taken in Section 8 Chicago trips to Montreal, Toronto, Kansas City, Columbus, Philadelphia, New York and in a month, Portland, I've come to appreciate the character and drive that is inherent in a traveling supporter's blood as they lend their voice to help the Fire on the road.
And while it's amazing to see so many take air trips, bus rides or insanely long travels in a stuffy van for a regular season match, I've also come to appreciate some of the faces I see every year in preseason.
For "The West Wing" aficionados out there, it reminds me of Bradley Whitford's character Josh Lyman trying to get to Port St. Lucie, Fla., for a New York Mets intrasquad game during Season 2's "Stackhouse Filibuster" just so catcher Mike Piazza could say, "Dude" to him.
At this point, if you're not understanding the Sorkinese I'm throwing at you, please meet Ray Cook, the Chicago Fire's very own version of Josh Lyman (more in the sports fan sense).
Ray traveled to Tucson via Amtrak from Chicago and even beat the team here (arriving Friday). I've seen Ray each of the last four preseasons (usually in Charleston, S.C.) but as he says, his tradition of making it out prior to the start of every campaign dates back to 2000 and has taken him to such places as Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Jackson, Miss., New Orleans and Guadalajara, Mexico.
This is why he does it...
You'd have to say with all the snow in Chicago last night (and this winter), he's looking pretty smart.
Select shots from the Fire's 1-0 victory over D.C. United
Select shots from the Fire's 2-0 win over D.C.
Select shots from Wednesday morning's training session in Ave Maria, Fla.
Select shots from Tuesday morning's training session in Ave Maria, Florida
After two years of being the only #71 in Chicago Fire history, Brazilian midfielder Alex has decided to move to a more traditional soccer number in 2014 and will now wear #7.
Some of the other #7s in Chicago Fire history are below:
DaMarcus Beasley (#7 from 2000-2004)
John Thorrington (#7 from 2005-2006)
Logan Pause (#7 from 2007-2008)
Other #7's in Chicago Fire History: Manny Lagos (1998), Paul Dougherty (1999), Alexandre Boucicaut (2004), Stefan Dimitrov (2010), Mike Banner (2011), Sherjill MacDonald (2012-2013).
Stay tuned throughout the week as we unveil more number switches and choices by the newbies in Fire camp.
The players are back and it's time for pre-season, take a look at some of the shots from today's festivities!
Throughout preseason, your favorite Fire players will give you a first-hand, behind the scenes look at what actually goes down at training camp. This installment is brought to you by Fire defender Gonzalo Segares. Now entering his ninth season with the Fire, Segares shares his veteran methods of handling the inevitable downtime that comes with preseason training camp. Make sure to check www.Chicago-Fire.com for all the action as the Fire kick off their 16th season.
Hello my amigos from the Chicago Fire. It’s now time for me to tell you guys a little of what’s happening on and off the field for me and my teammates.
We had our first preseason match on Sunday and the atmosphere was great. After a long time without competing in a game, it was great to get back on the field and kick some people. It’s been quite a while since I’ve played against someone other than my teammates, so it was good to get in some tackles and battles.
It’s been good to see the new faces working hard, competing and adapting well with the group.
Off the field there has been a lot of down time so I have been playing a lot of Halo in between practices. I’m trying not to nap during the day so I can go to bed early, so I’m usually on the computer, on the phone or transformed as a soldier, killing aliens on Halo.
It’s been nice here in Florida but I’m excited to go back to Chicago for a few days and spend the days off with my wife (it’s weird to say wife but I guess I have to get used to it) and have a nice romantic dinner and maybe watch a movie with her. I don’t think I’ll enjoy the cold weather but at least I will be at home with my family.
See you all soon and go Fire!
Well its the last day of the year and we're aptly left remembering all that went down in the Fire world during 2012.
A new jersey sponsor, a Ring of Fire induction, a 15th Anniversary, playoff qualification and a Rookie of the Year winner are just some of the highlights.
Take a photographic look back on the club's memorable 15th season:
Stay tuned on Tuesday as I give my New Year's Resolutions for the Fire in 2013!