This week we lost a friend. Casey Blick lost his battle with Cancer, and again we are reminded that Cancer can suck it and carry on sucking it. Some of you never met Casey, or only knew him briefly. Casey was one of the original guys that came to AC games in the old van with Brown, Mitch, Jeff, Darren and Me. He was there when the decision to wear the Chickenhead was made and he was there for early conversations on the patio about what a supporters group should be. He was never outspoken or visibly active, but his input helped us early on in shaping the Chickenhead group and, by extension, the St. Louligans. It was his idea for Mitch and I to start a podcast. It was Casey that convinced me it was worth my time to join Twitter. Casey loved soccer and was with me at the AC St. Louis announcement and those early events that brought Pro Soccer back to St. Louis. No one was happier about it than Casey. In many ways, Casey wasn’t your typical Louligan. He didn’t drink or smoke, he wasn’t overweight and he didn’t verbally abuse his friends for sport. He enjoyed a quiet laugh, but thought some of us were a bit too silly. He may have been right about that, but he did appreciate what we were trying to build. He loved the fact that we had built something from nothing and that he, in his own way, was an integral part of it from the beginning.
When AC folded Casey was heartbroken, but like those of us that have stuck around was happy that we found a home with the St. Louis Lions. Casey loved the romance of the small teams in England and saw our Lions as a link to the game over there and the tradition of the small teams. It legitimized us and our struggles. It’s easy to love a winner or a big team, but our relationship with the Lions proved that those of us who still come out and sing and chant are doing it for the right reasons- even If he wished we weren’t always so drunk.
A little over a year ago, Casey was diagnosed with two separate kinds of cancer. Rectal Cancer and Mantle Cell Lymphoma. It was always going to be a tough battle, but Casey tackled it with a valiant spirit and a support group we would all be lucky to have. As the treatments began it became clear early on that this battle was going to be more difficult than we originally thought. He had several set-backs and ultimately we discovered that he had a rare gene making his cancer super aggressive and resilient. As much as they tried, doctors were unable to stop the spread of his cancer. Ultimately he passed with dignity surrounded by friends and family in his last weeks. Casey passed at age 41 and is survived by his wife Sarah and his children Sofie and Will along with many friends, some of whom never even got a chance to meet him in person.
Casey was one of us and hopefully will long be remembered as an original St. Louligan. Though he never was well enough to attend a Lions game, that did not stop him from following the team online and our antics virtually. It also didn’t stop the Lions from reaching out to us to support Casey. Not only did the club sponsor a 50/50 drawing to help the Blick family with medical expenses, but the players wore special shirts showing their support for Casey before the home opener. That meant so much to him in his final days. It also means a great deal to me and should mean a great deal to you. This is our club and as much as we support them, they support us. This is more than almost any club would do for its fans.
I don’t know what else to say. I wasn’t Casey’s best friend, but I like to think we were pretty close. Mitch and Brown were even closer and I know all three of us have been humbled by this experience and we have felt a lot of love from our St.Louligan family. I’m sure the same would be true if it was any of us in this situation. We have become a family. Some of my best friends in the world are in this group. I’ve met people I never would have met otherwise and even though some of you drive me crazy I’d be writing something similar to this for any one of you were you to be so unfortunate. If you pray, say a prayer for Casey’s friends and family. If you don’t pray, spare a kind thought for them. I hope not to have to write one of these for a long time, but I hope 20 years from now the Louligans will still be going strong and that we all still remember these early days fondly. We will move on, but every one of us is important to this movement. We may not always realize it, but we all do our part for the St. Louligans and I appreciate every one of you.
In the future we plan on doing some cancer charity events for Casey and I know the Lions are planning a cancer event that we will take part in as a tribute to Casey. This terrible event will hopefully have a long lasting effect in encouraging the Louligans to give back and become a more fully rounded Supporters Group with a charitable side. It would have made Casey proud to have one last positive influence on us drunkards.