(Ha! Thought it was Hannah, didn’t ya?) Last night Joe and I infiltrated the soft underbeerbelly of a Seattle Sounders FC fan club (SSFCFC), the Emerald City Supporters, or ECS. Tickets in pocket, complements of Joe’s season-ticket holder brother, we met a couple of friends, gung-ho Sounders fans, also season-ticket holders and ECS, at the designated pre-match sports bar, Fuel. We stuck out immediately, as we were scarfless, and soccer shirtless. I did use our friend James’ large Sounders flag as a sort of pashmina for a while, until he snagged it back later to secure across his shoulders as a cape for the March to the Match. Other than that, my bright green margarita went nicely with my bright blue skirt, and we joined in rowdy song with the 90 percent male fans crowded around us, with the aid of a handily provided song sheet. I did know all the words to Perry Como’s Bluest Skies, embarrassingly enough, though it did have a twist: “Full of hopes an’ full of fears, Full of laughter an’ full of beers…” While perusing the lyrics to the other songs, I made the mistake of asking ‘Who’s Sigi?” (as in Sigi Sigi Sigi, OI OI OI!) and got a tolerant, and I must say slightly patronizing response; I could feel the words “the coach” literally patting my ignorant little head.
After sufficient spirit-raising at Fuel, we all walked across to Occidental Park for the start of the March to the Match. Again, the pack being 90 percent testosterone-laden, plus the band leading with tubas, trumpets and trombones, I held Joe’s hand and clung to the end of James’ flag-cape because of the whole five feet tall lost in a sea of green armpits thing, plus Joe and I both stupidly left our cell phones at home. (Apparently, one of the side-lined players, Nate Jaqua, was marching with us, too, but I didn’t know about it until later, and to be honest I could have been holding his hand and not have known it was an official Sounder–I mean come on, everybody around me was wearing a soccer jersey!) It was all fun until we marched up to a group of San Jose fans and tensions rose. We did an abrupt left-face, halt, and proceeded to boisterously sing them into submission, with the possible threat of a tickle-fight…You don’t mess with the ECS!
Once in the stadium we were on our own, us and a few thousand other people, 28,999 to be exact. This is when my possible attention deficit kicks in, and why we would never pay money for a sporting event (Joe would be perfectly happy with Sounders tickets, though). There’s just so much to look at, what with the sparkly silver, green and blue rectangles of mylar floating around in shimmering clouds like gnats, the guy with the awesome blue and green mohawk (or rather, whoa-hawk), and the ball’s all over the field anyway, and the permeating smell of garlic fries wafting up from below. And, hey, I like that guy’s shirt, oops, almost missed seeing that first goal. I buckle down and concentrate better for a while, jumping up when we get close to the goal, squealing like a girl (it’s okay when you are one, albeit ‘girl’ is somewhat loosely applied) when we miss. I wonder if they clean up the mylar confetti from the field with a vacuuming Zamboni. Joe gets into a competition with the teenage kid in front of us blowing their green Sounders horns; best $5 he ever spent, he says. I picture the stadium as one of those paintings of Seattle underwater with dolphins and stuff, and the horns are whale songs. What a gorgeous sunset! Isn’t Seattle beautiful? Isn’t my boss in this section, too? Oh yeah, over there, 10 rows in front of us on the aisle, I finally see, with his fists raised in the air as I miss our second goal…
We exit Qwest Field happy with our win, to meet our friends outside the entrance under the Chicago Bears flag. Only for us, it’s one last chance to display our total sports obliviousness, as we wander back and forth looking for a bear, because that big orange C could be for Cincinatti, right?