For some, participating in Colorado Rapids games is a fun Saturday night activity.
For others, it’s a lifestyle. And those people are feeling whole again after the Rapids allowed fans to visit Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the first time in 410 days for their home game against Austin FC on Saturday night.
“I’m probably all going to get emotional and shed a tear,” said Jon Boraz, longtime season ticket holder and member of the Centennial 38 support group, ahead of the game on Saturday night. “It was a long, long time ago.
“I’ve seen MLS games on national television and every time these people go to their first game I imagine how it will feel. It’s hard to put into words this year. It was tough for everyone. “
Although the stadium wasn’t full, both the Tri-County Health Department and MLS approved the rapids to accommodate 44% capacity – or 7,897 fans in the stadium. That was enough for the most dedicated fans to be sure to attend.
“[I’m] It’s literally speechless at the idea of being back in a stadium and seeing the club I love, “said David Wegner, Executive Director of Centennial 38.” But most of the time it’s just about seeing the community that we are and to be able to share the experience again. “
Most players got used to playing in silent stadiums. But the fans are a welcome addition for players who have missed the energy that fans usually bring to the stadium.
There won’t be much adjustment time either. The Rapids played at the season opener at FC Dallas in front of a sold out audience with a capacity of 9,000 people.
“Even [against FC Dallas] To be in a stadium for the first time … even if the fans are few … (it) feels like you know a full house for us, “said Keegan Rosenberry. “You don’t know how much you really value something until it’s taken away, and that’s certainly the case with the fans.”
Although the Rapids had a lot more fans cheering on Saturday night, Austin FC fans traveled in large numbers. The first home game is not planned until June 19. The team opened their season against LAFC, where fans were only allowed to participate to a very limited extent.
The signs of normality continue and Rapids supporters believe this is another step in the right direction.
“It’s really the feeling of the full circle,” said Wegner. “And I’ve spoken to enough of the other supporters and they seem to think the same way. While we still have a long way to go to deal with a pandemic, at least we are around the corner and we get back to it, it won’t be normal, but it’s back to that part of our reality that is so important is to us. “