I think I've discovered the secret to our fanbase. Or, to be more direct, I know why we so desperately want the Sounders to win the MLS Cup.
Raised in the Northwest, albeit in the sometimes forgotten land of Montana, I've always had an intense connection with Seattle sports. Despite the fact that I've had moments where I, like many impressionable youths, front-ran with the Tar Heels, worshiped the Aikman/Smith Cowboys and have even donned a Lebron "jersey" shirt (post-Sonics era, that is), none of those flirtations ever took the place of my allegiances for the Seahawks, Sonics, and Mariners.
However, in recent years, even the love for those teams has been dwarfed ever-so-slightly by my obsession with the Sounders.
My first taste of Seattle sports glory came in 1995 - yes, that glorious season which every Mariners fan still cherishes. In August of that year, I was whisked away to my first Mariners game at the Kingdome. On that same trip where my young eyes caught glimpses of Junior, Bone and Edgar for the first time in person, I was fortunate enough to also see Cortez Kennedy in a Seahawks' preseason game. Roughly a year later, I was fortunate enough to see the Sonics take on the then-Vancouver Grizzlies in Missoula, Mont., in another pre-season game - which was convenient because I'm from Great Falls, Mont.
Ever since, Seattle sports has been more addiction than hobby.
I've witnessed the many ups and downs of the Seattle sports franchises, and have done so while travelling from Montana to Seattle to see countless games.
None of them have meant more to me than the Sounders matches, though.
My first Sounders match (in person) was the infamous "Refund" match against the Galaxy. Despite the horrendous loss, I wasn't deterred from watching soccer in Seattle. My next trip was to see the U.S. Open Cup victory against Columbus, when my (then) roommate and I woke up and drove 8 hours to watch the match, and drove back the same amount to make it back to class the next day. I made the same trip to see the Sounders' victory over the Fire the next year as well.
I could wax poetic about the number of times that I've seen the Sounders, and all the personal memories that go along with it; however, I want this year to be different.
My brother passed away in April of this year, and Seattle couldn't have lost a more passionate fan. He was a die-hard Mariners fan, and I was lucky enough to see some amazing Sounders matches with him. If there was one connection that we shared more than anything else, it was our love of the Emerald City and her sports franchises.
He and I would roster-bate and argue about changes that the Mariners, Seahawks, Sonics, and Sounders needed to make in order to win. At the end of most seasons, we'd realize it was all for naught because they'd all end up fizzing out at the end of their respective seasons.
Despite this, for the last four years the Sounders have given their fans (as well as the city of Seattle) something else to rally behind. As each year has passed, we've seen the team get closer and closer to reaching the "peak" of the proverbial MLS mountain. The Sounders have been better every year, and they've arguably come closer (at least consecutively) than any other Seattle franchise of winning a major championship. They've given us a glimpse of what Mariners, Seahawks, and Sonics fans have wanted for so long.
That's why we call for Sigi's head after a disappointing result. That's why we question our lineups and whether a certain player is right for our team. We feel like there's just one, and only one, thing missing from Seattle grasping a trophy and being able to stand at the top of a sport and exclaim "We're the best!"
More than anything, we want all of the time, effort, and emotion that we've collectively poured in to Seattle's major sports to matter. We want all of our collective memories and experience to be vindicated, maybe just once.
I want all of the trips that my friends, family (specifically, my brother), and I made to be worth something. They'll always have much more than a sporting event attached to them, but I want more. Maybe a championship will help.
For whatever personal reasons, we want a Seattle team to succeed. We want victory. We want a trophy. We want it for ourselves, the Sounders players, and for the city of Seattle.
Let's do this, Seattle.