Fire Fan Friday Blog

Longtime fan Jeff Butler shares his story

This is my first attempt at a blog so please be kind. My
name is Jeffrey Butler and I have been a season ticket holder since the Fire’s
inception at Soldier Field back in 1998.

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Back then I stood in Section 8 with a
bunch of passionate fans. Now I sit in the terrace but sometimes I join those
fans nowadays on road trips.

My first road trip was in 1999 to Columbus. I rode with Chris Costello and my
son to the match. I don’t recall if there was a bus but I don’t believe so. The
Crew stuck us all in one section in the corner of the stadium to keep us out of
trouble. Ironically now that is where their supporters sit. We won that match
and Chris got jabbed with a lit flare that burned a hole in his jersey. Even
then we had trouble with burning objects!

This year’s first road trip is May 7 and Section 8 is
running two buses. One is an early bus that left this morning. The other leaves
Friday night which is when the first one will arrive. I left on the early bus
so I could spend an extra night in Toronto, which is one of my favorite cities.

The first time I was in Toronto for a soccer match was 1981. The
Fire’s predecessor, the Chicago Sting played in the Soccer Bowl against the New
York Cosmos. My wife and I flew up for the game along with quite a few other
fans from
Chicago.
The Sting won in a shootout after the match finished tied at the end of regulation
time. I must admit I was one of the fans that celebrated the victory by jumping
over the metal fence onto the field at the end of the game. I remember the
Cosmos cheerleaders running in the other direction. They had probably heard
about the crazy fans from Chicago and were just anxious to get out of harm’s
way!

Probably the best thing about road trips, especially one
that is an eight hour ride to Toronto, is a the camaraderie and the bonding
that occurs. You go to an away game figuring the Fire is going to lose due to
the fact most teams win at home.  So the
motivation for going on the road with your team is primarily to see a new city
and have fun. If the Fire win -- even better. 
I see many of the same people at home games also but being together in
the same vehicle for such a long time helps develop relationships.  I met a good friend, Pola on a trip to
Columbus a few years ago. Now both she and her husband Don are going to
Toronto on the same bus as
I am.  We’ll probably go out for dinner tonight
and I wouldn’t be surprised if other people on our bus joined.

If you’ve never gone on a road trip with the Fire
Supporters, try one. We go to
Kansas City May 15
and
Columbus on July 3. Once you have gone on a
road trip you’ll be looking at the Fire schedule,  excited for the next one!