Since the new season is now upon us, we can now look at the possibilities of future road trips. As I look forward to the 2017 season and possible road trips, I start to look at some of my past road trips. I warn you: it is a bit TFC heavy but please bare in mind that TFC got me into supporter culture. So join me me as I review my past experiences of my trips supporting TFC,Canada, Capital City, and, of course Fury. Stories will be told: some heard and some unheard. Please note that at the end of this blog, I will post all my road trips
My first TFC game was in September 2010 and it was against San Jose aka the infamous DeRo check-signing goal celebration. It was my first, (in recent memory) ride on a subway and streetcar. It was interesting, to say the least: lost a new jacket, made some new friends, and learnt a few “questionable chants”. The central story for this paragraph is truly the recent semi-final between TFC and Impact in Montreal. It all began with some of us chit-chatting to go to the game and plans being made.This lead to the eventual the car ride where I learnt things and stories about my car mates. All the topics ranging from football (well it was a road trip, so that's a first) to personal/social lives then to political then to random stories. There is really something special about going to a rival city and trying to out sing over 58,000 fans in their own house. My first road trip to Montreal was with Anton to the first MLS 401 derby. I lost my beer money (not surprising) and he left the car lights on and windows open. It was at this game that we met Mark Cayer, Alex Ho, and the Buffalo Fans wearing the Norwegian Curling pants. But honestly the funniest part of any road trip for TFC I've been on, is when we went to Montreal in October 2016 and Eric hit a seagull. Rest in peace Steven Seagull.
Canada games are always a special time. People tend to first ask for your voyageur forum handle then your name, which helps everyone from the forums know who they are talking to. My first game was in November 2011 with my cousin Emma vs. St. Kitts and Nevis; this was actually first time I met Matt (Gracies Manager) and his now wife Jessica (who encouraged me to get the march going, which I tried). I was at the Panama game during DeRos cheeky game-winning goal. My third was the infamous Canadian Women rematch vs USA Women, where I learnt the “Yankees picked a fight” from Jeff S. from the toon...well, Saskatoon anyways. I went to see Canada vs Jamaica and for my dirty 30. I saw Costa Rica play Canada in the Gold Cup. My favourite Canada game was during the Women's World Cup in Montreal against Holland. Here comes the fun part: we all know how forgetful I am and how quickly I loose things so please keep this in mind as we continue this story. So Anton and I got our tickets and I gave mine to him for safekeeping. We get to Montreal and try to navigate the maze that is Montreal and deal with construction to get to Marceau's place, which is a pain. Part of the trip was going down an alley and Michael M. (Sunderland Twin) says: "Where's the hooker? This is GTA, right?" I know it's inappropriate but it was (somewhat) relevant and got a few chuckles from us gamers. We get to our destination, unpack and Anton says: “I think I left our tickets in Ottawa”. So here we are in Montreal, having a few drinks with Marceau and I'm on the phone using my contacts trying to get CanWNT tickets for this game. In the end , we got our tickets and attended the game. By the way for all you drummers, ensure that when you drum on a march that your drum doesn't have legs and it is not garbage day. While marching, I had the legs extended on the floor tom so I wouldn't have to adjust them at the stadium , but as we approached the main route of the march the legs got caught in multiple garbage bags. This made me do the majority of the march from Bra 99 to the Big O walking on the street rather than the sidewalk while my dad looked on and laughed at me. Worst chant we did to Holland was “if it wasn't for us (x2) You'd be German, if it wasn't for us”. We didn't do it to be mean, we were just stating history.
I know for majority of my road trips have been for Canada and TFC but sadly not so much for Ottawa. My first ever Canadian Soccer League (CSL) was the final of 2011, Capital City vs Toronto Croatia in Etobicoke. The team rented a small bus, the cost was $40 and that included a ticket, a ride there and back. This was the squad that starred TFC's current goalkeeper Clint Irwin (First Bytown Boys SC Player of the year) and Eddie Edward (current Ottawa Fury player). We lost 1-0 on a set piece that was scored in the first half. The funny part of that game was Aaron Hooper nearly getting in a fight with the Croatian fan. My next road trip was with Anton, Mark, and Wheelbarrow Andrew down to Canton,NY for a preseason friendly vs Syracuse. Don't ask me the final score because we were frozen as hell. For such a small and fun trip I would definitely do it again. Also I like small towns such as Canton, they have some personality to them. The next trip was for the NASL final in Long Island , NY. First, we were told it would be a DRY bus (no booze) so that meant to us drinkers to really load up. I made a concoction I called guava mojo which was rum (Appleton), guava, pineapple and lime juice, which was deadly and felt perfect for the beach. Trust me it was dangerous. So our truly fun part was at the border when border patrol was collecting passport and one of the officer's nightstick bumped into Jason and she said “Oops I forgot how big it was” and his response was “That's what she said”. I'm there thinking “Great we aren't even over the border yet and one of us is getting arrested." I'm proud to say I wasn't one of the first to start drinking even though I could have been, that's real restraint for me. As we continued our trip we found out about two hours in that our bus wasn't dry. Oops! Well we're Canadian: if we want to have a drink, we will. Since we had children on board, we watched a couple of kids movies. We had a conversation discussing the Kevin character in “Home Alone 2” whether or not he was a genius or psychopathic. Also, we questioned his parents and the criminals' intelligence levels. We were impressed with Andrew Salam's (BBSC President at the time) TIFO display after the Paris attacks. We went into the NY stadium being told no flagpoles and drums but hey never argue with me when I'm perturbed. So we entered with the floor tom and I looked like a human drummer/typewriter. Even though we lost 3-2 down a man, it was a great trip. I may take the mickey out of the Fury front office, but that trip was great. It may have been a 24 hour trip but I would do it again.
Even though seven out of the 16 games I have gone to as a road trip have been losses, it wasn't about the result but the experience. The roads trips themselves are fun but it's more about the camaraderie you make and strengthen rather than the results. There is something to be said about going to an away ground and attempting to out sing the home crowd. Road games can be expensive and long but if you are with the right people, it's well worth the cost in time and money, regardless of the result. I personally am excited for the July 8th game when Ottawa goes to Toronto to play TFC II. Firstly, we're going to Toronto to test our mettle against a strongly and largely support club on their home soil. Secondly, it's on my birthday weekend, well the day before anyways, so let's make it a party. If you have the chance to sign up for a road trip, take it and, as we love to say, BRING THE NOISE.
Previous games attended (Home team First)
Sept 2010 TFC vs San Jose MLS L
Aug 2011 TFC vs RSL MLS W
Oct 2011 Toronto Croatia vs CCFC CSL L
Apl 2012 Impact vs TFC MLS L
Sep 2012 CanMNT vs Panama WCQ W
Oct 2012 TFC vs Impact MLS D
Jun 2013 CanWNT vs USA Friendly L
Jul 2014 CanMNT vs Jamaica Friendly W
Apl 2015 OFFC vs Syracuse Friendly W
Jun 2015 CanWNT vs Holland Women's WC D
Jul 2015 CanMNT vs Costa Rica Gold Cup D
Nov 2015 OFFC vs NY Cosmos NASL Final L
Apl 2016 Impact vs TFC MLS W
Jun 2016 CanWNT vs Brazil Friendly L
Oct 2016 Impact vs TFC MLS D
Nov 2016 Impact vs TFC MLS Playoffs L