Welcome to the refreshed Once A Metro! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
Accessibility is a powerful thing. When you're working full-time to pay off more college debt than your New Jersey-based house is worth, even a train ticket to New York City to watch the Knicks or Yankees can be a real strain on the budget. And don't even get me started on football games...
I suppose that's what made the inviting nature of the Red Bulls and their beautiful Red Bull Arena so enticing in the first place.
Never has any top-tier sports team made me feel so welcome as the New York Red Bulls.
From the affordable tickets to the easy trip to Newark to the free shuttle to the Arena from Market Street to the closeness of whatever seat I have to the field (no matter how high up the seats are), the Red Bulls have made themselves so accessible to me, and so easy to see up close and personal that I couldn't help but grow attached to them like some kind of extended family.
The fact that the Red Bulls also have twice as many home games as my also-beloved New York Jets is pretty appealing too (as is their more consistent presence in the playoffs, but that's another issue entirely).
The makeup of the players on the Red Bulls is pretty significant too. Whereas in most sports the players come from all over the country and may not always share that attachment to the state I call home, the Red Bulls players - or at least a good portion of them - are local boys who grew up in the same towns I knew when I was younger. They play for the city name at the bottom of the logo just as much as the energy drink logo right above its name.
It doesn't hurt that Red Bulls games are pretty darn exciting too (I don't know if you heard, but last year they scored SEVEN goals in a single game.... on the road!). Even in some of the team's most lethargic performances, they still keep me entertained
And last but certainly not least in love is the fans. Sure, it looks a little awkward when the team doesn't fill up the whole stadium, but the fans are loud enough and passionate enough that I really don't notice once the game is underway. No other fans that I've been around maintain their energy for as much of the game as the fans in the South Ward.
Sure, the team has trouble winning the big games, but then I always remember that they wouldn't even be in a big game if not for the exciting matches they played to get there in the first place.
I may not be a New Jersey resident forever, but no matter where life takes me I believe the Red Bulls will always hold a special place in my heart.
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