1.3.11

Day 309. The Arch One(s).

So given my posting history of late, I could easily cheat and make this post that is about more than one person count for more than one day...but nope, we're gonna go with this! :)

This post is, again, about hockey. Not a fan? Please don't stop reading because this is not really about the sport. To, once again, sum up the position from which I sit, I am a fan of the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team that hasn't really lit it up in the league. We're on a great roll right now but the team has been around for 10 years which, apparently, according to some, is the maximum amount of time allowed before fans are allowed to become "disgruntled". (To those people I offer exhibit A: Detroit Lions, B: Chicago baseball, C: Cleveland Browns, D: Penn State Football, E: Cincinnati Begals...you get the picture.)

Anyway! I've talked a lot about my definition of a fan: ultimately, at the end of the day, you, as a fan decided to root for this team and therefore, you, as a fan, should support your team. I'm very hesitant to really judge anyone because, noone has ever watched my every move at work and critiqued it real time and also, I can guarantee that I'm not going to be able to suit up and do any better than any athlete I've ever thought did even their worst. I try to be an optimist, I want the best for most everyone, so ultimately a fan supports, a fan cheers, a fan endures.

Well the "disgruntled" attitude I had talked about was taking over Nationwide Arena where the Blue Jackets play. Weirdly enough, I had started saying to Stephen that I really wished we could sit in a section with people who get jacked up and cheer (one crazy lady yelling at the top of her lungs in a Derek Dorsett jersey doesn't always make the largest impact). And then I started to hear rumors of the "Arch City Army".

To summarize, this is a group of fans who while only in their 20's have borrowed their concept from supporters of our local soccer team (yeah, who knew?) to cheer, chant, sit together and overall raise the sound levels all in support of our beloved Blue Jackets. This group of young guys, Zach, Brian, Manuel (I know I'm missing a couple more) turned their little idea into a group of almost 400 fans who lite up twitter, the group page on Facebook and the Arena when they are there. They are getting lots of local press love. These guys also always advocate for taste, minimal profanity, respect to other fans and good sportsmanship - all while building a cool group culture and tradition.

How do I know this group is striking a chord? You can buy a membership to ACA, and just under 400 people have said "yes, this is a team we love, we want to do what we can to support them, and even if we do lose, we still are tried and true loyal fans...I like what you're doing here - where do I sign up and give you my money?". As an "older person" (you should have seen the looks on these young guys faces when I picked up my membership card ;) to see this idea flourish under the leadership of some "young guys" really makes me happy and, dare I say it, a little bit proud?

The details of sports and hockey aside, what I have loved most is seeing proof that if you believe in something, if you have a good idea, put it out there fight for it -- you're bound to find people who believe in you and with you. Even more importantly, there are a ton of people out there who just need a spark of positive energy to release the same within themselves. I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone say about this group something along the lines of "so glad you did this I've really wanted something like this..." Feeling afraid to put out the Pollyanna vibe? Trust me there ARE others out there like you - and like attract like.

This group has really brought a lot to the fan community and the arena environment - and again, I think that's a lesson to extrapolate to pretty much any aspect of life.

Arch City Army continues to grow and I am proud to be an inaugural member. Even if that means just a Facebook post, or a cheer during a game or just knowing someone else out there is "believing" it makes a difference.

Check ACA out on Twitter and Facebook.

They are getting a lot of good buzz and I can only hope it continues :) Well done, guys, well done!

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