In the past I have talked about the conflicting emotions, and theories, of being a fan, being a blogger, and being a member of this greater community of Sounders. Last Saturday I had one of those moments, where I wear my three hats. I'm not comfortable with three hats. But I do it.
Jeremiah keeps telling me to write about my experience at the Bowl for Japan event with Gorilla FC. He recently kind of forced my hand. It was part of a weekend with my wife out of town, but my community was here.
We, the writers, some readers, started pre-game. I, ended with ECS after that Steve Zakuani lead draw.
But Saturday? Saturday was about more than a game. That was the opportunity to commune and to give.
So I went to the Bowl for Japan event with a coworker. Two people don't make a bowling team. But we figured that we could do the entry fee, buy some raffle tickets and hang out with fans.
We greatly underestimated our day.
Instead I met with readers. I chatted with Zakuani and James Riley. James Riley, who I once taught how to taste coffee (yep, another hat) noticed that I wear glasses now. He connected. James asked WHY. Those two asked to bowl, not just sign paraphernalia. They shared a scoreline, and hung out with the other fans.
The US National Team was on TV, and these two starters were bowling with fellow fans.
About 15 minutes later three more players joined the event. Nate Jaqua, Tyson Wahl, and recent goal-scorer/hand-injurer Taylor Graham joined. They too wanted to bowl. To just hang out for a while. To enjoy that unique bond.
Somehow my coworker and I wound up on that team. A team that would finish third because of me.
Graham and I have chatted several times through the blog, and about blogging. One hat.
Jaqua remembered me from the coffee tasting. Two hats.
Wahl thought I was just a fan who needed a team. Three hats.
I'd like to blame those hats for the poor form I showed, but they are only metaphorical. The bowling was bad because I only do it virtually. Similar to this in ways.
But the strike I threw later? That was real. That was celebrated with a LB/CB, a CB and a TF.
"Once you get the first one, the rest are sure to come"
But the camaraderie did.
The lane next to us finished first. By quite a bit, they didn't have me. But like our lane, they had a few players connecting to us not as fans in rave green, but as fellows on this planet.
Roger Levesque came, and bowled on the furthest lane. One week notice and six players showed, as well as Matt Gashck and some less well-known people on the tech side of Sounders FC. A simple Saturday with the United States on TV, a few players and a few bowling balls.
My three hats aren't separate. This life of soccer is a Venn Diagram.
I am a Fan. I am a Supporter. WE are Sounders.