Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wearin' the Green

Our newest writer, Blon Dee,
sporting the green and white
On Saturday the Seattle Sounders FC will play their home opener against Toronto FC on my son's second birthday, which also happens to be St. Patrick's Day.  This trio of special dates has made some important decisions in my family just a bit easier this year.  

Question number 1: What kind of decorations should have on my son's birthday cake?  Answer: A soccer ball with green frosting of course.   (I should add that my four year old daughter has given this plan her highest seal of approval)  

Question number 2: What green garment will we wear this St. Patrick’s day to appear festive and to celebrate our (vaguely) Irish heritage? Answer: Why the rave green, of course.  (My apologies to Super Cyan.  Wait, nevermind.  I take that back. That kit is hideous)

Being a soccer fan in Seattle is incredibly easy.  There’s no stigma.  There’s no sense of being part of an underground movement.  Sounders fans are loud, extremely proud and kind of obnoxiously nerdy about it.  We take obvious pride in breaking our own league attendance records each year and absolutely crushing the second place team's figures in the process.

And we love sporting the green.  I don’t live in the city.  I live in a suburb about a half hour outside of the city.  Not a day goes by that I don’t find myself in line at Starbucks with a guy wearing his SFC jersey/warm up jacket/hoodie or in the drive through line at Starbucks behind a car with a Sounders FC decal on its bumper.  On game days as my family piles into our SUV and pulls out of our cul-du-sac and heads toward the highway I can count on seeing other vehicles piled full of green jerseys and scarves and trailing green flags from their windows.  We smile knowingly at one another and head off on our pre-game routines.  

This might be a good time to tell you that I love the city of Seattle.  As a native New Englander, I feel very at home in a small, walkable city of friendly people who move efficiently about their own business.  Century Link field (The “Clink”) where the Sounders play their home matches is located at the south end of the city.  Nestled between the International District and Pioneer Square the stadium feels very organically tied to the life of the city.  I personally love arriving to games a bit early so that I can wander a few blocks away from the stadium and take a breath of life in Seattle. On match days the streets are crawling with green.  Happy fans spill out of pubs and bars and into the streets.  The vibe is mellow but it is electric and contagious.  It pulls you in and makes you want to be a part of it.  No Sounders fan is ever alone in Seattle but this is visually quite obvious on game day.

Prior to each match, fans gather in Occidental Park and prepare themselves for the March to the Match.  From there loyal followers parade toward the stadium following the Sound Wave marching band - yes, we have a marching band...thank you Drew Carey - as they sing and chant and hold their scarves and banners high.   And here I must make a confession, I am not a habitual marcher.  Sure, I’ve marched before and I’m sure I’ll do it again.  But more often I arrive at the stadium and head straight for the food.  That’s right, the food.  Our seats are in the all-inclusive section which means we are usually motivated to get in early to hit the buffet.  I also truly enjoy getting into the stadium to watch warm ups and soak in the atmosphere on the pitch.  I just can’t resist the combination of two of my favorite things - all you can eat food and my Seattle Sounders FC.  

Seattle is my adopted home and I love it here.  But I grew up going to baseball games at Fenway Park in the heart of the city of Boston.  Going to games at Fenway was about going to see a game IN Boston.  It was (and still is) a communal experience of watching a game with loyal fans in a city that loved (and still loves) its team.  The Clink may not be dripping with ancient history but it is a stadium that is absolutely tied to its city.  From my seats I can look past the north score board and see the Space Needle peeking between buildings; the stadium speaks to the city and the city speaks back to the stadium.

Being a Sounders fan is, for me, a chance to watch a fantastic sport, played by a world-class team made up of highly skilled players who are charismatic and serious about their trade.  It’s also an opportunity to be part of something greater happening off the field.  I take pride in supporting my team for the work they do on the pitch but also enjoy the communal experience of being a supporter in a terrific city.  I’ve never heard a player on any team in an interview say that his team’s supporters are the worst. Of course they always declare - usually emphatically - that their fans are amazing, outstanding, terrific, truly top-notch.  But when Steve Zakuani said recently in an interview that Sounders fans are the best... well, I had to agree. 

So this St. Paddy’s day I know what I’ll be wearing.  And I’m sure that I won’t be even remotely alone.

Editor's Note: We are excited to add Blon Dee to our writing staff and are looking forward to her coverage of the Sounders and the Northwest soccer scene both on and off the pitch. Make sure to check out the "About Us" page for more information on Blon Dee and all of our writers and as always thanks for following our blog!

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