Commerce City, Colo. - When he accepted his father's invitation to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Patrick Brennan knew what he would do when he reached the highest mountain in Africa.
"I knew the moment I was going on the trip that if I made it to the top, I had to take the Rapids to the top too," Patrick told ColoradoRapids.com via email this week. "I've always been a huge European soccer fan - Man United to the core - but was never much into MLS...until now. I love the fact MLS has grown so much over the last few years and I want the sport to grow as much as possible. This was my little way of getting the Colorado Rapids global."
Patrick (on the right in photo above) played competitive soccer while living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin before moving to Denver three years ago, after some time spent living in New Zealand. Soon after arriving in Colorado, he met Tyler Fell, who suggested Patrick join him at a tailgate party before a Rapids game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
"After watching Conor Casey score, I never looked back," Patrick said. "I was hooked."
Not long ago, Patrick's father, Don, was diagnosed with Stage IV lymphoma, considered one of the most severe stages of cancer. Don, 68, won the battle.
"Since then he has really gone after anything he has wanted to do," Patrick said. "I look up to my dad in so many ways and I knew this would be a trip that he and I would never forget. When he asked me if I wanted to do it, I smiled ear to ear and said, 'are you kidding me?' I owe everything I am and have to him. He's the real motivation for making it all happen."
The Brennans completed the Lemosho Route to the top of the 19,340 foot (5895 meters) Uhuru Peak on Mount Kilimanjaro in six days and seven nights, trekking some 42 miles and about 13,000 feet in elevation change. The climb was originally scheduled to take eight days, but when their luggage was lost and arrived a day late, they had to make up the time on the trail.
"It was one of the hardest climbs of my life, but we made it," Patrick said.
With the trip of a lifetime complete, fans can expect to see Patrick back at future Rapids games.
"Soccer is a huge part of my life," he said. "I always encourage anyone to enjoy the sport and feel the passion the rest of the world enjoys for the beautiful game."