That fateful pk call was not obvious from the Brougham End, but I accepted it. Standing, singing, and bouncing amongst the cacophony of voices I had no idea if it was a legit call. It didn't matter. There was a penalty to be taken in a 1-1 game in the Champions League. Orders from the capo were to be quiet. No one was. Maybe others were, but I didn't know. I sat down.
I wrapped my scarf around my eyes, my hands over my ears. I couldn't close out the noises. I tried.
The Dire Days tried to kill hope. There was no way I could watch this penalty. I didn't even know who was taking it.
This story is starting at the middle, let's roll back a bit.
My normal seats are in 214. I stand with my brother, another of my groomsmen, two of the first people that met me right after I returned to the Sound after the Army. The row in front of my is one of the godfathers of Sounder at Heart. Tonight, he lacked his wife and my normal crew was gone, so were the rows behind us. We watched the first half and all its pain from our normal seats. At half we went to the Brougham End, which had space, unusually. I normally do a "day with ECS" but this wasn't it, this was just a chance to enjoy sport, even if in a loss.
So we moved.
I jumped. I sang. I screamed. My legs turned afire. There's chaffing and sweat. Friberg scored, but there is no confidence yet. Hope disappeared in July (June and most of August too).
The viewing angles are poor. I'm right up front and a capo is telling me what to do. I listen.
And then there's that penalty call.
I can't take it. Confidence got destroyed in eight losses in nine games. Sure, there's been a win since, but I'm a Seattle sports fan. Failure is more common than success.
Now, we're there. My scarf is around my head. My hands over my ears. I hear shouting but cannot make it out. I think Pineda's got the kick, but I don't really know. I don't want to know. It keeps going.
Logically, I know there is some kind of kerfuffle going on, but my eyes are closed, with a scarf in front of them. I am not willing to see what happens. Failure, or success, oh please let it be success, will be told to me by the rest of GA.
Time is moving slowly at this point. Words are screamed, but they don't have meaning. The referee's whistle sounds, I think. But everything is unclear.
Then joy. I feel the joy. I never saw it. I never heard it. Like my first ever time in GA, for Fucito's stoppage winner over KC, my awareness of the power of the Seattle Sounders comes from my neighbors. I get hugged, and hugged, and hugged, and hugged. There are high fives, love fives, fuck yeahs and how did that happens. I'm showered with water and maybe beer.
We've won. We won because Brad Evans is not just our captain, he's our talisman.
I didn't see the goal. I don't care. I saw my friend. Joy wrapped me up in an embrace. It's a 2-1 win and complete control of the Champions League. I didn't see the goal.
I don't care.
For all those dark days. From the 100+ losses I saw as a Mariners fan, from the 2 win Seahawks season, from the zero win Husky season, from the
zero one win Cougar season, from the destruction of the Supersonics I learned pain. From these past two months I had hope stolen from my love of Sounders.
Tonight, more so than the 4-nil in league play, I was reminded that there is hope. Hay fe.