As we close out 2012, I'll once again present my top moments from the past year. In 2011, I went with a top five, naming The Win at Metapan as #1. This year, I'm going with just Top Moments. You can decide their order. Check back between Dec. 21-30 for this year's highlights.
It's not just the action on the field that shapes the identy of a sports organization. It's also the actions off the field.
What stood out to me over the course of the last 12 months was the amazing support and recognition to the entire Colorado community from everyone that supports and is part of the Colorado Rapids.
It wasn't just the countless appearances the players made - as they do every year - like building a house through Habitat for Humanity, supporting Make-A-Wish as celebrity chefs, hosting clinics for the disabled, or raising awareness for childhood cancer.
And it wasn't just the initiatives of the front office staff, which climbed stairs to fight lung disease, jumped in a frozen lake to suppor the special olympics, ran distances to raise money for diabetes research, and grew mustaches for Movember.
In a year in which Colorado faced numerous tough challenges, our fans should also be commended for their contributions.
I remember the July 4th game and the team wearing HelpColoradoNow.org across their jerseys as fans donated money in an effort to help support the fundraising efforts related to the devastating wildfires throughout the state.
I remember the outpouring of support when our friend and colleague, Marisa Colaiano, passed away in late July. And the players coming back from Toronto to attend the services, then wearing black armbands and patches for the remainder of the season in her honor.
I remember the September 6th game when we celebrated Colorado Heroes Night. I still get chills thinking back at the standing ovation the crowd gave the state's first reponders, police, and firefighters (photo above) that attended to the tragic fires and horrific incident at the Aurora movie theatre. That night, on behalf of the money raised by Rapids fans, we presented checks totaling $40,000 to the Colorado Professional Fire Fighters Foundation (CPFFF) and the Denver Center for Crime Victims.
Of course, it wasn't just sad events. We also cheered loudly for the standout athletes that represented Colorado extraordinarily.
Who can forget the roar from the crowd when the 2012 Olympians that call Colorado home were honored at halftime.
Or the huge smiles on the faces of the Global Down Syndrome campers that walked the starters out to the field on October 7.
And perhaps one of the most memorable initatives was the home-and-away series between the Colorado Special Olympians and the Seattle Special Olympians. Colorado Olympian Conor Coleman had the quote of the year when he told our team - in Seattle - "Beat the Sounders to a pulp!" (Check out the photos / blog).
With so many more examples of outreach and signs of support, I can't just pick one moment.
So in the spirit of OneClub, one of my top moments of 2012 was the collective efforts of the players, staff, and fans who showed Colorado the unifying power of soccer.