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.
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!