When Mark e-mailed me saying he wanted to have our next small group party at the Sounders game, I was a bit hesitant. I can still remember learning about soccer in my 6th grade PE class and not really feeling it. Since then, my apathy for the sport has remained stagnant though the years. To be frank, I was a bit shocked that the slight change of name from Sounders to Sounders F.C. would breed such a huge following to the sport and it was something I couldn’t really understand. At all.
Well, the second we sat down on the bleachers at the Starfire Sports Center last night, I finally got it. The outdoor stadium bleachers were packed with fanatics and where there was empty space you could bet on a Sounders scarf laying there to reserve their spot. All of the things I love about normal sporting events were missing but that was just fine. No “beerman,” no guy half asleep sitting in the nosebleed section by himself, and not a single foam finger. The announcer didn’t have a big booming voice and only spoke when necessary. It was all about the soccer. No frills or fireworks. The players came out and waved to the fans clapping for us as we were clapping for them. From the moment the clock started I couldn’t take my eyes off the game. As previously stated, before last night, my knowledge of soccer extended to what I learned in 6th grade in Mr. Lakin’s class. But I understood the basic principle. Get ball into goal. When any type of foul call was made against a Sounder, the resounding sound of “booo” was everywhere with the occasional “hey stripes! Are we watching the same game!?” I loved every second though. The passion these people had inspired me. I also found the game itself exhilarating. You really can’t take your eyes off the game for a second. The Dynamo’s scored early in the first half and things were looking a bit grim with less than two minutes left in the game. The little mother in me thought, it’s okay, at least they tried their hardest and look how far they came, while the competitor in me was on the verge of tears from frustration. Multiple attempts were made at the goal, but none of them ever went in. As the game seemed to be finishing up, you could feel the desperation in the stands. At this point, everyone was on their feet and leaning forward in anticipation for a miracle. And then it happened. Goal. A sweet sweet goal was made by Nate Jaqua who spent nearly the entire game with a bandage wrapped around his head from a gash he received in the first ten minutes. Once the goal was made the only thing you could hear was screaming. No words, no pauses, just screaming. Puffs of blue and green smoke filled the air and the smell of gunpowder smelled like a comeback. Since it was the semi-final game, this meant overtime. The outdoor stadium lights exploded on the field and it was time to play. The game hadn’t been going on for that long when out of nowhere, miracle #2 and this time from Stephen King. The screaming commenced again, but not for too long. The acuity was felt from both sides. For the rest of overtime Houston couldn’t muster up enough power to score. Victory. Sweet, sweet victory was ours. It was the kind of game movies try and capture.
I can’t imagine a better soccer game in the history of soccer games, which leads me to believe I was witness to one of the greatest games in sports history.
When it’s us versus them, you can always count on me
When it’s us versus them, it’s a Sounders unity