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24 Hours to Go - Why This Means So Much

Like many Seattle sports fans, I've never seen any of my teams win anything. I've seen plenty of them get close; the 2001 Mariners were the best baseball team ever assembled, but they faded in the playoffs. Then there were 2005 Seahawks, and the less said about that the better. The 2008 University of Memphis men's basketball team were seconds away before Mario Chalmers happened. Most recently, Aston Villa made it to the League Cup final before losing to Manchester United last season. I guess if you wanted to get technical you could point out that my high school won the 3A State Football championship my freshman and junior years, but I hated the school so much I was actively rooting for them to lose and so in a way it felt much the opposite than one might have expected.

Point is, I've seen my teams come close, but I've never seen them win with a trophy at stake. I couldn't watch the U.S. Open Cup final last year because of work, and while I followed the game as closely as I could it's just not anywhere close to being the same. I was happy when the Sounders won of course, but I didn't get to see it and so it felt somewhat hollow to me, at least on a personal level. And because my job at the time had me at work almost every Saturday night, the USOC final wasn't the only game I missed. So while I was following the team and emotionally invested in its success, the connection wasn't there as much as I knew that it could be.

I'm a boring desk jockey with a square 9-5 now, but it's not without its advantages. Being able to watch nearly every Sounders match this year has been one of them. And tomorrow night, I get to see them play for a a trophy. I legitimately don't know how it will feel if they win. I'd imagine a lot of yelling will be involved. I am absolutely positive there will be drinking involved; there's a reason I took Wednesday morning off from work. There will probably be hugging of strangers. There's a better than zero chance that I might cry. And really, I think that's what I'm more excited about than anything else. Of course the win would be important from my perspective as a Sounders supporter, but it's about discovering something new within myself as well.

I've experienced a lot of emotions in my life. From the nervous rush of performing in front of a crowd to the joy of hearing my wife say "I do" to the pain of losing far too many friends and loved ones. But I've never experienced what it's like to see my team win a championship. And though sports are comparatively unimportant in comparison to love and life and death, there is nothing on earth that can provide you with the same feelings, at least not that I've experienced. That is of course why we care; because real life is just far too real sometimes, and we can't always allow our emotions to govern our actions. Except for those nine innings or four quarters or 90 minutes. I've been kicked in the gut far too many times over the years. I'm ready to know what the opposite feels like.

Tomorrow night, I will be in GA at Qwest Field and for 90 minutes I will let my emotions take over. I will sing and yell and lose my voice and give everything I have to make the experience as memorable and enjoyable for everyone involved as I possibly can. There is nowhere on earth I would rather be, and win or lose it's something I don't think I will ever forget. But dammit boys, win. Just win. For yourselves, of course, and for your teammates and for this city. And for me, and for all of us that have spent our lives wondering how a moment like that would feel.

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