Crew Cuts: "A Massive Season"
The Crew dug itself into a hole last weekend in Utah when Robbie Findley's 88th-minute goal lifted Real Salt Lake to a 1-0 lead in the two-game, total-goals series that concludes tonight at Crew Stadium. Columbus must win by one to force overtime or by two to take the series outright.
If the Crew fails to salvage its playoff stint, at least Columbus soccer fans can relive last year's title run through Steve Sirk's new book.
Sirk, whose Sirk's Notebook chronicles the team's home games with extensive, tidbit-filled recaps on TheCrew.com, has compiled last year's columns plus tons of additional writing and photos into a thick volume called A Massive Season: Sirk's Notebook Chronicles the 2008 Columbus Crew.
The 480-page tome is essential reading for anyone who has ever cared about the Black and Gold, functioning as a sort of scrapbook for the club's first championship season.
"It was just a great year for anyone even remotely associated with the Crew," Sirk said. "When it was over, it was like, 'I don't want to forget about any of this stuff.'"
And there are plenty of details to forget. Sirk is known for tracking down every last factoid, from the benign to the bizarre, offering Crew fans a window into the locker room and a chance to know the players beyond their personas on the pitch.
A Massive Season is stocked with these kinds of stories, from Adam Moffat blaring bagpipe jams from his car stereo to the ongoing tale of Danny O'Rourke's fantasy football obsession.
The book begins with a brief overview of mostly miserable Crew history then goes match by match from March's season-opening win versus Toronto FC to November's MLS Cup triumph over the New York Red Bulls. Every page is imbued with Sirk's uniquely whimsical take on "America's Hardest Working Team."
Sirk has been writing the column since 2000, when he was charged with producing content to supplement Shane Murphy's game recaps. Looking for a unique angle, he decided on the absurd, beginning by asking San Jose Earthquakes coach Lothar Osiander whether he would take up the Miami Fusion on their offer of free tickets for anyone named Lothar in honor of German legend Lothar Matthaus' MLS debut.
Over the years, Sirk developed a kooky rapport with players like Dante Washington, Brian Dunseth and Duncan Oughton, who often played along with his off-kilter conceits to hilarious effect.
"Sports should be fun," Sirk said. "There are plenty of outlets for news and serious analysis, but there should also be room for fun."
The book is on sale through Amazon.com and at the Crew Gear store at Crew Stadium, where a portion of all sales goes to the Crew Soccer Foundation.
Real Salt Lake at Columbus Crew
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5
Where: Crew Stadium, North Side