FRISCO - We all have our favorites, but as we wind down the final days fo 2018, here are just a few of my personal favorites from what's been quite the year at Toyota Stadium.
This, undoubtedly, was one of the most difficult periods in my career, much less this season.
From very early on in my time at FCD, I had the pleasure to work closely with Scott Dymond and we bonded over our love of hockey, often finding ourselves talking about the resurgence of his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs. Through the years, we all watched as Scott battled through his fight with cancer until in early September, we learned he could no longer fight and his health was failing. There was no better way that we could pay tribute to quantify Scott's immeasurable impact on FC Dallas and the literal thousands of kids whose life he impacted.
You hear his voice over the greatest moments in the last six years, but Mark Followill's journey to the voice of FCD is one of love and longevity. For someone who's main employment lies elsewhere in the lore of Dallas sports, the lengths Followill goes to make every broadcast he possibly can is incredible. There have been red eyes, two-hour naps at an airport that function as a full night's sleep and even hours-long drives to make up for cancelled flights. But the reason he goes through so much trouble is the same reason he got started with the Dallas Burn in the late 90s.
As he was getting set to make his World Cup broadcasting debut this summer, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the voice himself to explore his story and a strange twist of fate that brought him to this point.
Night of Milestones
It was an incredible night at Toyota Stadium (despite the lengthy rain delay before kick), but knowing everything that has transpired since, I think Aug. 18's win over Minnesota has to be the high point of 2018 for FCD in my eyes. The joy and celebration in the room after the match as the club celebrated its 200th home win, Matt Hedges' 200th MLS match and Oscar Pareja's 100th all-time win was immeasurable.
Looking back on it now, it was a night that won't soon be replicated in terms of its magnitude.
There are countless people who work behind the scenes for us at FCD to produce the incredible content we're able to share. Not all of them hold the public-facing role that I get to enjoy, but more often than not it's their work that shines the brightest week after week.
That sentiment rings true surrounding one of my favorite series of the year, carried out by motion graphics designer Arturo Rubio in bringing a storyline crafted by Jhannet Sanchez to life. The 2018 Texas Derby storyline was told in classic comic book hero vs. villain fashion.
From the Heart
When we sat down with Mauro Diaz in June to film his personal goodbye to the fans that have supported him for so long, we had no idea just how many times we'd be saying goodbye true icons of this club from the last few seasons. Kellyn Acosta followed. Then Oscar Pareja, Tesho Akindele and Maxi Urruti. Finally, Victor Ulloa.
While saying farewell to these six great people, much less players (and coach), are certainly not going to be fond memories of 2018. But sitting down with each and every one to record their heartfelt messages to you, the fans, opened up a side of each that I personally had never seen. We interacted with each every day and had lengthy talks about their new chapters each time, but when it came time for them to talk to the fans, each one was full of emotion - it was the hardest part for all of them. Some struggled through countless takes, overcome with emotion or not knowing how to say goodbye. Some knew exactly what they wanted to say, but still felt surreal saying it.
It wasn't a requirement or obligation to shoot these videos. Each was an offer extended to say anything they wanted, and each was a wholehearted and quick acceptance of it. We gave no editorial insight or advice, no alteration of the words straight from each's mouth. Simply a camera, a chair and the simple chance to speak from the heart.