Last Sunday after my dear guests had left, I went to a Seattle Sounders game with some of my co-residents. I don’t know what I was expecting, with soccer here being the red-headed step child second-cousin of American sports, but IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! I used to play soccer from kindergarten up through high school and I think I finally realized what Jeff has told me for years – that a sport is so much more fun to watch when you’ve actually played it and know all the intricacies of being on the field.
This was a big game, for the Western Conference championship against the LA Galaxy (and David Beckham!). Unfortunately even though we won the game, we didn’t win by quite enough points to secure the title.
Soccer is big here and the Sounders enjoy a dedicated fan base unlike other cities in the US where fan loyalties usually lie with the big five: Football, Baseball, Hockey, Basketball and NASCAR. They have SEVEN recognized support groups – an insane number for soccer, that along with a 53 piece marching band hold pre-game cheer sessions and parade into the stadium chanting slogans and singing anthems. Steve, Glenn and I got swept up in the parade on our way inside after a concert in Occidental Park by one of my favorite band from middle school, The Presidents of the United States of America (“millions of peaches.. peaches for me”) and an impromptu pep talk by Sounders part-owner Drew Carey.
Once inside the stadium I bought a requisite soccer scarf declaring my allegiance to the Sounders and we met up with the rest of our group: another resident, Rozi, his family and one of our attendings who just moved here from Belgium, Johan, and his family.
I’m such a big fan of the Sounders’ colors: bright blue and green. They’re so happy against the grey skies. Fortunately our seats were nice and high under the cover so we didn’t get wet!
Johan said our game was too polite. Despite several bad calls by the ref (one resulting in a penalty kick that scored the Galaxy their only point) there was no wide spread rioting. His take on it in an email the next day: “You Americans are the most fairplay people of all … besides a couple of ‘ booos’ nobody yelled anything like “ I know where you live OR I know where your car is parked OR your mother is a wh*** OR ….” Similar ref behavior in Europe would have resulted in riots and the game would have been interrupted by supporters running onto the field. Cars and shops’ windows would have suffered after the game … But no, it was peaceful on the way out.”
Since the game I’ve been trying to talk Jeff into visit his old roommate in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. If we go I guess we’ll need to be prepared for a scenario that Johan described and not the peaceful, fun atmosphere of the Sounders’ matches!
It was a fun night and I’ll definitely be back at some games next year! (Plus, need to get some good milage out of my new scarf!)