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The duality of fan

Wednesday was for unabridged joy, and anger, and catharsis, and pain.

NWSL: OL Reign at Washington Spirit Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday night sucked. But it was also one of the most joyous moments possible.

Both of Seattle’s professional soccer teams were playing home* games in high-stakes cup competitions at nearly the same time, with OL Reign and the Washington Spirit going to penalties after a scoreless 90 minutes just as the Seattle Sounders kicked off their own quest for glory against Pumas UNAM.

It was frustrating for the Reign to need to play what should have been a home game on the east coast, in the other Washington, due to an incredibly unfortunate confluence of events and scheduling which meant Lumen Field was unavailable to them. Instead of the cheering of their fans and comfort of knowing every bounce and roll on the Lumen turf, and being able to sleep in their own beds, the Reign had to spend nearly a week living out of suitcases and face a hostile crowd and muggy weather 2300 miles away.

It was joyous for the Sounders to be chasing history in front of a massive crowd, with millions of eyes on Seattle just weeks before we learn if the city will host games in the 2026 World Cup. To see so many former players and famed Seattle athletes rallying behind the Rave Green, with everything surrounding the event confirming that it really was a big fucking deal.

It was despairing to see stars go down with serious injuries, to be subbed off before the game even settled in. It was elating to see stars return from long-term injury, to set foot on the pitch for the first time in months and step up as if they hadn’t missed a moment.

It was despairing for the Reign to ultimately fall in the 10th round of kicks, quite possibly the cruelest way to decide a winner in any sport, especially after how dominant the team was in the final 20 minutes of regulation time. To know that they wouldn’t get their own opportunity to play for a trophy in front of their home fans in three days. It was enraging that they had a deserved penalty kick go uncalled on the final play of the game, to have the ref deny them once only to make them take 10. To see the disappointment, the frustration, and the anger shared by players on social media.

It was incredibly joyous to see the Sounders run rampant en route to a 3-0 victory, to see them put away multiple beautiful chances and leave no doubt. To see them receive their medals and lift the trophy, and celebrate with the tens of thousands of fans who stayed long after the final whistle blew. It was marvelous to see the players celebrate long into the night, to share in their joy on social media.

In the end there’s precious little time to linger in joy or despair, for in just a few days we go again – the Sounders at Dallas on Saturday, and the Reign finally back home on Sunday afternoon. Let’s ride the roller coaster of emotions again at Lumen quite soon.