Last Tuesday I stopped in the middle of the US Open Cup title game and took in the atmosphere of the crowd at the Three Lions Pub in Redmond. I wanted to set the memory regardless of whether the Sounders won or lost. Tournament soccer is fickle. The best team doesn't always win. And though I wanted the Sounders to win and convinced myself that they would, I also didn't want to miss out on the experience. The joys, the smells and quivering mass of humanity vibrating with every kick of the ball. I wanted to remember the experience of rooting for a successful team and reveling in the joy of the fans basking in that success. Sports fans don't get to experience that sensation most years.
Saturday's game against the NY Red Bulls was agonizing. The Sounders did not play well and all of the rationalization in the world doesn't quell the demons of last year's death spiral. But the game was also a reminder that the Sounders have positioned themselves to do something special. They have an opportunity to make history. The agony of defeat only happens when a team is expected to win. The 2014 Sounders have already won a trophy. Two more are within reach. Whether they are able to grasp the moment and seize the Supporter's Shield and/or the MLS Cup remains to be seen. And regardless of the outcome, the burden of ‘seeing' falls to us. We, the Sounder's fans, are the witnesses who have that responsibility.
Embrace that responsibility. It's a gift. Ride your emotions and live in the moment. Capture as many sounds, sights, smells and haptic experiences as you can over the coming weeks. Clench your teeth. Gasp through the gaps between your fingers. Ebb, flow, rise and fall with the tides of those emotions. The Sounders may fall short. They may capture the day. But they need us and accepting this responsibility comes with the rarified air of a title hunt.
Sound the horn. Breathe deep the autumn air. Thunder forth. The game's afoot and this is our hunt.