I still haven't watched the game. I was at CenturyLink, but not really in a place where watching is easy, nor practical. That changes your assumptions about game play.
Being inside the frantic mess that is the passion of a supporters section is something entirely different than my normal experience. Mostly due to this blogging thing, but also because I really love my seatmates, I do not enter the Brougham End often. Basically it's once a year.
I have yet to witness a loss there, which is neat, but mostly what's great is the raw emotional state I'm in with that crowd.
That's what sets it apart. Not the flags, not the songs, not the tifo. Those are all wonderful, but when I'm in that chaos none of that matters. Those are a lot of symbols for what being a supporter is.
Sure, there's alcohol and offensive chants. There's a the March to the Match and a Boom-Boom-Clap.
When I dabble at being a supporter (as opposed to a fan or blogger or even a rare thing as a real journalist) I don't think about the symbols. I don't think about the rest of the crowd. I don't do a lot of thinking about the people standing next to me.
There's pretty much no thinking.
There's the capo (six of them I may have seen), particularly Timm as the toppo of 122 and my raw emotions. My voice is how I share those. There is guidance, but it is the channeling of a magic spell that unites us. Our powers and spirit bonded together with one soul purpose - support of team.
It is an incredible thing to feel. My neighbors there aren't all like me. There were women (I'm not). There is a variety of ethnic groups (I'm a really typical white dude). There are young, old, in-between acting old (me), in-between acting young.
Those differences are meaningless when united behind something greater than phenotypical differences. That something greater may only be soccer.
But I nearly lost my voice and so did everyone else. Well, some actually did lose their voices.
I was part of something last night. I love it. It's great to throwaway a bit of individuality and join the controlled chaos once-in-a-while. Others may do it every game. For most it isn't their thing.
If you do go sometime. Do not go as a tourist. Do not dabble. Do not take notes. Just go. Become a part of it. Take the memories home with you and watch the game for tactical nuances later. Let the passion and emotion lead you that day.