Watching a trophy decided from the spot is an intense experience. It is one that I could not handle. At Queen Anne Beer Hall when it went to PKs I turned away from the screen.
The thought of seeing a Landon Donovan-esque horror penalty from the team I love scared me. I closed my eyes, bowed my head and held Rachel’s out-stretched hand.
I would experience the tension of penalties through sound and raw emotion. This may not have been a good choice for my mental health.
For the first round the process was simple. Toronto made their shot. Seattle responded to a rousing cheer. Then the boos happened.
“Is that Will Johnson?” I ask. “No, not yet,” answers Realio.
And the boos turn into cheers. Huge, ear-drumming blowing cheers. I know this is saved. Cheers again when Seattle responds.
TFC answers with another. No loud boos, just an electrical charge through the open hall. It is tense. Then the shadow of disappointment. I know a Sounder missed or had their shot saved. Today, I look and it was Alvaro Fernandez that had his attempt saved.
That tension turns to a thunderous boo. It is the kind of boo that can shatter a soul, except it is thousands of miles from the player.
The boo turns to a groan. My eyes still are not open. My hand is still held.
A cheer, a sigh, a cheer - this wave of emotion conveyed via ear is consuming me. It’s just sports they say. But it is also my love, my passion, the thing of hope I’ve held through dark times.
An unknown TFC player steps up. There are light boos and then quickly cheers. He has missed or Frei has saved. I don’t know. I just know one thing. This moment, this very next moment can mean that Seattle holds a championship.
I am completely overwhelmed in a noise so grand and happy I do not understand it. Wave upon wave of joy lap over us. I start crying out of eyes that have not opened in minutes. Rachel’s poor hand is nearly crushed from my tension.
I look up.
We are champions. Tears keep flowing. I am surrounded by Sounders-friends and SaH staff. I continue to cry. I’ve given up pride a long time ago.
Finally, I remember to film the reaction.
We're fairly certain this scene repeated around Puget Sound yesterdayPosted by Sounder at Heart on Sunday, December 11, 2016
These people are you. Maybe not actually you, but a sub-set of you. These are the people that helped me experience the penalties as I couldn’t handle watching them.
On Sunday I finally watched the winner. I guess I’m a lot more like Flaco than the rest of the team.
My Sounder-heart prepared to break, but instead Roman Torres blessed me with a joy that may eventually disappear. On Tuesday we march again, but not for a game. On Tuesday we march to celebrate victory.