There have been moments during the existence of the Columbus Crew that were the ends of eras. Sometimes, we have been delightfully unaware of the approach of such moments. The passing of the great Lamar Hunt, successful seasons ending with shocking playoff losses, or completely unexpected player departures, for instance. Other times, we may have had a sense that a massive change was coming and we were somewhat prepared for the new way. The final match at Ohio Stadium, or Brian McBride's inevitable European departure come to mind. Today seems like a little bit of both. We had a sense it was going to happen, just not this way, and not so fast. Regardless of that, do not doubt for one second that today is the end of an era.
Duncan Oughton is simply one of the best people Major League Soccer has had as a player, coach, broadcaster, and personality. For those of us in Columbus he has been all and only ours since 2001. For those of us who have always known his quality, for those of us who know the reason why we call him "St. Dunc," and for those of us who never once forgot him or took him for granted, this fin de siècle is truly complicated.
It happens in life. There are times when a friend's departure is the best thing, because we want our friend to go good places and do good things in life—but it's where our friend needs to go to get to those good places and do those good things that is hard to accept. At those times, we trust, we support, and we believe in our friend. That's how a friend succeeds, and that's how we succeed at being a friend.
In the Maori verse of the national anthem of New Zealand, there is a line, "Kia tau tō atawhai."
It means, "May your blessings flow."