My dad, Ron Kyser, was a rugby man. For him, it was more than a sport, it was his community and a way of life. He was rough and tough and my mom has always said becoming a father changed him.
I am one of three girls. We grew up knowing our dad adored us. Our interests always became his interests. As I became more committed to soccer, my dad became invested as a fan. He traveled the country to watch my games with my club team and was there cheering in the stands for my two conference championships with the University of Cincinnati. Like rugby was for him, he understood that for me, soccer was my community and way of life.
As life has a way of doing so, things got busy. I moved back to Columbus after college and my own career, interests, and travel took on a momentum of their own. My family gathered together regularly, and as nieces and nephews and brother-in-laws joined the family, chaos, laughter, and food were the makeup of these occasions.
Connecting one on one has always been important for me and my dad invested in our now mutual interest: Soccer. We got two season tickets and he always said my mom had first right of refusal. She liked the 70 degree summer evening games (who doesn’t!). My dad and I attended the rest. As we cheered on the Crew, we would catch up on life. He would tell me about his adventures and I would let him know what was important to me at the time. From our seats in section 125 we would share a beer, analyze the match, shout at the ref, celebrate victories, chat with our neighbors and be grateful that he was my dad and I was his daughter.
Throughout the week we would email and text about the Crew. It was our special time together. Even in my father’s last year when he was so sick, he had trouble walking long distances, he still made an effort to come to the games and spend time with just me. The last game we went to before he passed away was in the summer of 2014. We left the game at halftime. The bathroom was as close as the exit and he was too weak to get back to the seats. But he was committed to going. He was committed to being an outstanding father and involved in my life. I cherished this time we had together.
I now share our season tickets with my dear friends Keith (@knaas) and Rebecca Naas. My dad’s name is still on my seat. He’s with me in the stadium.
For some, the Crew is a soccer club. For many, it is a gateway to special moments. It is an opportunity to come together and ride the highs and lows of being a sports fan. It’s a chance to experience glory.