First of all, it’s an absolute joy to be alive. That’s the core principle I operate my life from. I think I’ve told you that before. Even in the most difficult circumstances I find something, anything to be joyful about. It’s not always easy, but it’s something I force myself to do. That’s the lens I try to look at everything through.
Right now — right this second — is one of those moments I will use for the rest of my life to remind myself of what kind of joy life can bring me, bring us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for a second going to pretend that us Sounders fans haven’t been spoiled with a Decade of Dominance, because we absolutely have been. But what I will tell you is that the 2019 MLS Cup victory will forever be one of the sweetest moments in my life.
Early on in 2019, the long time editor and founder of Sounder at Heart, Dave Clark, got hired by Reign FC and the Tacoma Defiance. It’s the professional job that Dave has always deserved, and we were all very happy for him to accept the position. Dave taking this job meant that there was suddenly a massive hole that needed to be filled here. A lot of people, myself included, needed to fill that impossible hole. Jeremiah deserves all the credit in the world for making sure you, the reader, didn’t notice any hiccups. There were some, but we tried our best. After all, this whole enterprise doesn’t work without its most important part; you.
I owe Dave so much. At a low point in my life, I was fired from my dream job after 37 days. It was the gut punch of all gut punches. Dave came to me in that moment and asked me to send tweets for Sounder at Heart. Of course, I said yes. And well, here I am. It’s been a really weird two years.
Do you remember April of 2019? That was only seven months ago. I know it feels like four years ago, but it wasn’t that long ago. We were so young then. The Sounders looked like the best team in the league, until they didn’t. Obviously, we’ve hashed a lot of that out on these pages, so I won’t go over too much of that, but I think it’s important to remember the highs we had at the beginning of the season so that we can truly appreciate where we are in this moment. The most important thing to remember is the middle of the season.
Look, what I do here is awesome. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But I have to be honest with you — this summer was so, so difficult. It was the Iron Front stuff. It was the team playing badly. It was the international call-ups. It was all the things. I remember sitting in an Airbnb in Portland the night the Sounders won the Cascadia Cup. The Sounders played incredibly well that night, but I was writing another story about the Iron Front, having spoken with Stefan Frei at length. I had just blocked yet another right-wing troll who was calling me a terrorist. It was my birthday weekend. I’m mostly a tough dude, but that shit gets really old, really fast. I didn’t think I had it in me, but something about seeing the team that night gave me hope. Then the win against the Galaxy gave me more hope. Then the wins against San Jose and Minnesota gave me the most hope. This team was capable of achieving special things in weird ways.
More serious things will be said about how this team got here, but I’m here to talk about the emotions. I’ve got a quick story to tell you. When FC Dallas made it 3-3 in the 82nd minute of the opening round, I immediately got out of my seat, in the press box, and went to the bathroom to scream. I am not very proud of this moment, but I think it serves a greater purpose. I didn’t think the Sounders were going to lose that match, but I was cursing whichever god I believed in at that moment because this team was committed to making sure things were never easy, at least until that point.
I’ll just come out and say it. The Salt Lake game, the LAFC game, and the Final against Toronto? Those were easy. I mean, obviously they weren’t easy, but I think you know what I mean. The Sounders settled into an identity that made sense for them, and they steamrolled every one in front of them.
I spent all week running through the possibilities. Honestly? I never saw a scenario that ended with Toronto FC lifting MLS Cup on our field. Not against this team. Not in front of us. This team, this Seattle Sounders, was built for this.
Things got really, really weird this season. Weirder than I could ever imagine. But only one thing matters in the end, and it’s the team lifting the trophy. That team is your Seattle Freaking Sounders. That team lifted that trophy for you. Drink it in. These are the days of our lives. It is an absolute joy to be alive.
The parade’s on Tuesday.