26: PER ASPERA AD ASTRA.




…it was as if "astronaut" were an honorific, like "champion" or "superstar,"…
-Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff, chapter six, "On The Balcony"

Crew can mean a lot of things. Since 1996, the Crew of "Columbus Crew" has been more along the lines of the second definition of crew in my New Oxford American Dictionary: "a group of people who work closely together." Basically, a team. Crew will always mean that, regardless of what changes in the crest occur in 2015 and in the future.

But, what if Crew in "Columbus Crew" meant more like the first definition of crew in my dictionary: "a group of people who work on and operate a ship, boat, aircraft, spacecraft, or train." It's not quite as synonymous with team, but it's not too far off.

I'm kind of a space nerd. Not like a sci-fi, Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who space nerd. More like an astronomy and NASA space nerd. More like an I-know-what-stars-are-due-to-go-supernova-sooner-than-others space nerd (hold on, Betelgeuse, hold on). I've been this way since I was four. If you follow MassiveCityFFC on Twitter or Facebook, you've probably noticed that I frequently tweet and retweet, post and repost the latest rocket launch, solar-flare outbreak, Mars rover news, deep-space Hubble images, International Space Station video, astrophysics discovery, and so on. It may not be soccer-related, but I think it's important to share. My favorite Latin phrase has long been Per aspera ad astra—Through hardship to the stars. If you want to know why, watch the video at the beginning of this essay.

According to NASA, Ohio is the birthplace of 25 astronauts. All of them are models of what human beings can achieve (I mean, these people have been in space . . . SPACE!) and we should recognize them all. But there are four that, I think, stand out, and on whom I'd like to model this new redefinition of Crew.

John Glenn is the first Ohio astronaut. On Mercury-Atlas 6, he became the first American to orbit the earth. In 1998, he became the oldest person to ever fly in outer space. He also became the only person to go into space on a Mercury program mission and on a Space Shuttle program mission. He is the last living Mercury astronaut. He and his wife, Annie, are in their 90s, now, and they live in Columbus.

Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He was an astronaut in the Gemini and Apollo programs, and the first human being to walk on the moon during Apollo 11.

James "Jim" Lovell was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He was an astronaut in the Gemini and Apollo programs. On Apollo 8, he became one of the first human beings to leave Earth orbit, reach and orbit the Moon. He is one of the first human beings to see the dark side of the moon. He was also the commander of Apollo 13.

Judith Resnik was born in Akron, Ohio. She was the second American woman to fly in outer space. She flew on two Space Shuttle missions. Her first flight was on the first flight of Space Shuttle Discovery in 1984. Her second flight was Challenger flight STS-51-L, which exploded during launch. In 2010, she was one of 10 final nominees chosen as a possible representative for Ohio in the National Statuary Hall, along with such historical greats as the Wright Brothers, Jesse Owens, Ulysses S. Grant, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Thomas Edison.

Imagine the work of thousands of human beings that went into lifting these Ohioans into space. Imagine the struggle of innumerable generations of life on earth that led to this handful of Ohioans to achieve their feats. Imagine the effort and the risk. Imagine the hardships.

Per aspera...

This design is about a new definition for a New Crew, but also about keeping the historic importance of Ohio's accomplishments in mind when we seek to symbolize our identity. The four arcs rising out of the shape of Ohio, reaching for the star above the crest, represent the four astronauts discussed above. The globe in the center is the Earth and the Moon and a soccer ball, too. Yes, one has to really make a giant leap to tie space exploration and soccer together, but that hasn't stopped me before.

And besides, there are some similarities. Soccer is the world's game, after all; and, as Neil Armstrong said while he stood on the surface of the moon, "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."

And when our team wins the cup, what do they get to put above their crest?

…ad astra.

Yes. Stars.