2022 CCSG Supporter of the Year
For some fans of football, sitting down in your either too hot or too cold plastic chair with your $11 beer is enough.
For others, standing on said chair, beer spilled everywhere and throat ripped to shreds from 90 minutes of chanting, singing and screaming is what that experience is about.
Yet, for one very special group of fans, that's not enough. Sometimes, you need to show up to the field an hour early with 9 wooden signs, sneak past some rent-a-cops and declare the stadium "Olliewood". Sometimes, you need to smuggle in half a dozen inflatables, 20 beach balls, a bunch of water guns and a 10 gallon collapsible water jug that you have to fill at the water fountain during halftime. Sometimes, you need to just be The Masked Maestro, Bryce Crossman.
If you have ever tuned into an Atletico Ottawa match live from TD Place, or you’ve attended the games in person, you’ve no doubt seen the man in striped overalls and matching mask waving a giant inflatable T-Rex over his head. One of the original Dub-verse characters, Bryce Crossman, AKA “The Masked Maestro”, has been one of cornerstones of CCSG and is one of the beating hearts of the Dub from long before kickoff to long after the final whistle. A lot of the iconic Capital City SG and ATO moments and lore stem from Bryce and his creations.
Earlier this season Atletico Ottawa put on a "Beach" Themed match. A home game draw to Cavalry that was pretty routine on the field. In the Dub however, Ottleti history was being made. With the summery beach theme, Bryce went all out. He brought beach balls for everyone, water guns and a jug to fill them with, and he brought one inflatable that would influence supporters culture and the experience in the stands.
Seemingly from nowhere, in the middle of the Dub. perched upon Crossman's shoulders stood a 5' 1/2 foot tall T-Rex.
The crowd simply lost their minds. Chants of "Ottawa's Got a T-Rex" soon became the most popular the section. From that moment on, Wally the Dinosaur became a mascot and a symbol of the footballing culture that CCSG has built.
Wally has gone on to make appearances throughout the season, including the Road Trip to York United, surprise pop ups in other sections and a quick break on the North Side of TD Place.
"He is the best" were the words Marco Adrian Mendoza (Lucho Capital) used to describe Crossman as he recalled how important Bryce was to him joining Capital City SG.
"After coming to Ottawa from Mexico. He was the first person I met" Mendoza adds. Together they worked on a song for Alberto Soto (a former player). If you've ever seen the pair at Glebe Central Pub (CCSG's Official Pub) or doing shenanigans in the Dub, you could be forgiven for thinking they were brothers reunited after years apart.
The Road Trip to York was an absolutely incredible experience for everyone lucky enough to go. The match, the drive there on the bus, everything was incredible. According to Patrick Dornan, co-host of ATO: After The Whistle, Bryce is one of the reason that trip was what it was.
Arriving at York Lions Stadium before everyone else, Bryce made himself busy and as the bus rolled up, the CCSG road contingent was met with Wally strapped to the roof of Bryce's van and the man himself in a pair of red and white striped overalls holding a cooler of cold beer. To sum it up best, “Peak Bryce”.
Between spending hours building "Olliewood" signs, making lyric prompt cards so that everyone knows the lyrics to the chants and creating a monopoly on my favourite photoshop photos of all time, Bryce is also a devoted father and husband. His family make regular appearances with him in the Dub, and his sons are often his partners in executing whatever it is Bryce has in store from handing out over 100 pride flags at the Soccer For Everyone match to chasing Lucho Capital around Glebe Central Pub at Viewing Parties.
Whether he’s being a great fan, a great father, or a great friend, Capital City Supporters Group, and my life in general, are definitely sillier and better places to be when Bryce is there with his unique brand of excitement.
I’ve never met someone who would bring a drum to a U14 match, let alone one his kids aren’t playing in, just because a grassroots coach wanted to give his players the “real” footy experience, and I probably never will again. But that is the essence of who Bryce is. A genuine, one-of-a-kind super fan who cheers for his loved ones almost as much as he does his favourite team.
Thank you Bryce and congratulations on becoming the inaugural recipient of the Capital City Supporters Group Supporter of the Year Award.