Soccer….Family Style


Praise and Parenting: a Soccer Mama’s Take on Seattle’s 21st Century Debut

image

What a night, huh? The show that Seattle put on Tuesday night was mind-blowingly awesome on so many levels…the pre-party, the march to the match, the songs in the supporters section, and that beautiful, glorious tifo. Seattle deserves a lot of credit for creating one of the best game experiences of my 20 years of following US Soccer. But as I was reading stories about the match from Business Insider, the blogosphere, but in particular, Jerry Brewer’s column in the Seattle Times, I felt like we need a little parenting perspective on this game, and I’m just the soccer mama to do it.

                Seattle, what you did was amazing, but to say this was all Seattle culture, or just a normal night, makes us here in the rest of the US Soccer world a little uncomfortable. Last night wasn’t about Seattle soccer. It was about Seattle hosting US Soccer. Of the 41,000 tickets sold for this match, 15,000 of us came from out of state, a full 37% of the people, according to US Soccer’s presentation at their Official Supporters pep rally. The people that are willing to travel like that to games, to not only pay $50 without complaint, but spring for a $300+ flight and take vacation time….we don’t sit in the upper bowl. That impressive performance in the supporters section came from a diverse group of supporters. Within my arm’s reach were supporters from England (who was noticeably stunned by how far American soccer has come, saying “I didn’t think I’d see anything like this for another five years), Des Moines (Iowa, not Washington), Denver, Portland, and yes, Emerald City Supporters. I had friends in the crowd from DC, Detroit, Kansas City, and more, 49 states represented in attendance, according to US Soccer. We bring the diversity of supporter clubs from all over the USA, and there’s an opportunity to learn from us. I would be so disappointed if I heard my child present their group project at school, but try to make it sound like the project was a success because they were so awesome at making projects, that everyone else’s projects pale by comparison, even as the other members of the group that had done work were standing there. Seattle was amazing last night, in large part due to the tireless hundreds of hours put in by American Outlaws, Seattle chapter, but also thanks to members from chapters around the US, who shouted ideas to Seattle capos and helped keep fresh chants flowing.

                If Seattle does get another game, and I hope they do, I hope they’re a little more open to asking for help. Yes, you do Sounders supporting, week in and week out, and you do it with skill that puts you among the best atmospheres in the US. But there are those of us that do US Soccer, year in and year out, and we love supporting our team as much as you love supporting yours. Just ask nicely, and we’ll help you hang banners and distribute song cards. I really enjoyed last night, working with capos with microphones, and I loved learning new songs that are unique to the Pacific Northwest. You know what would have been awesome? Allowing us out of town capos to teach you some of our songs from around the United States. Because I got “Everywhere we go” started (mic free!) in my section, but if the capo with the mic doesn’t know that that song ends with “clap clap clapclapclap clapclapclapclap USAaaay!” then we all sound silly as it grinds to a halt, as we are all clapping, but the mic guy is launching into the 2nd round of singing. It’s OK for you to learn from us, as we learn from you, it will only make you stronger.

                I have two kids. Would any of you ever seriously ask me which one is my favorite? Of course not. I’ve watched US Soccer in eight countries and 12 states, and I’m not going to pick a favorite, nor should you ask me. I’ll tell you that I love the Member’s Bar and stand at Sporting KC, and I cried last September in Columbus the first time I heard a US Soccer crowd chant throughout the stadium and stand for an entire match, I loved Denver and Tampa, where the crowds faced some of the worst weather I’ve ever dealt with in a match with a wonderful sense of humor and adventure. And I love, that for my 40th match supporting US Soccer, I got to be with you, Seattle, under the most impressive tifo I’ve ever seen. But I wouldn’t say it was my favorite, because I love all those experiences for different reasons. I don’t have to love you “the best,” and by now, you should be confident enough that you don’t need that to feel good about yourself. You are a great soccer city, but you won’t become a greater soccer city until you open your doors and let us share our passion with you. Because the USA chant that everyone is writing about at the end of the match was cool…but what’s cooler? A loud, slow, haunting rendition of “You’ll neeeever beeeat the US (clap!) “You’ll neeeever beeeat the US (clap!) Just throw me the megaphone in the 88th minute next time…I’ll start it up for you.

                I was really proud, even pleasantly surprised, that for the most part, you let your club thing go for a night. I saw very few green shirts in that sea of red, white and blue, and the one capo who dared show up eternal green and forever blue getup (or is it the other way around?) was a good sport about switching to red. You not only did some Portland cheers, you gave them credit where credit was due, probably one of the coolest supporter club moves I’ve seen. It gives me hope that now that you’ve proved yourselves worthy, next time you’ll expand your scope and look at what US Supporters are doing around the US, and welcome our ideas with open arms. Hopefully next time, I won’t hear quite so much about how it’s not worth $50 to see a World Cup Qualifier, and more about how it sold out weeks ahead of the match. I hope next time, it’s like last night, only bigger and better…..although seriously, I don’t know how you’d ever out-do yourselves on that tifo. (Watch the tifo at this link.)


image

The crowd in Seattle knows how to pitch in and help fold the Midwest Mama. Thanks to everyone who helped!

Advertisements

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Good comments. I assume you got ahold of the AO Seattle leadership and offered your assistance beforehand, right? As was mentioned many times, Seattle hasn’t hosted a qualifier in a long time. I’m sure your experience could have been very welcome if you’d spoken up.

I trust you also know that during a match is not the time to be trying or experimenting with new chants that people aren’t familiar with. A chant led from the stand will ALWAYS be more effective than a chant from someone fifteen seats back and two aisles left. The more people shouting ideas at the capos, the more likely they are to ignore them. They’re not being dicks about it, they’re just trying to keep an incredibly diverse section on the same page.

And if there were more good examples of how these songs are supposed to go, like on YouTube or a good pub recording session, these songs from around the country could be utilized more frequently. You also have to take into account that yes, people from all over were present…..but the majority of the crowd and the supporter’s section were Cascadia. It makes way more sense to do songs and chants that the majority of your people are familiar with.

Looking forward to seeing you back in Seattle for the next match, which hopefully won’t be in 37 years!

Comment by Just a man

Oh, Just a man, someday we should meet, so you get the very funny joke you’ve made in “if you’d spoken up.” I always speak up…to a fault some might say.

Yes, Shawn Wheeler, AO Seattle President, and I are friends, in person and via Facebook. I offered to help set up the tifo I’d brought, and when my help was refused, I sent back a “no really…please let me help” that was accepted. We were the only non-ECS people setting up the tifo, and I would have stayed longer, but it took so long to get everyone over to the stadium, we did our tifo, helped with one section of song cards, and then went back to the bar.

http://www.starsandstripesfc.com/2014-world-cup-qualifying/2013/6/12/4423314/usa-vs-panama-2013-seattle-crowd-fans You’ll always find me down front, because I like to capo if my help is needed. In this photo, you’ll find me, front and center, right in front of the capo, as usual. It comes from my paranoia bringing my kids into the section. I like to have them where I can lift them onto the field if there’s a riot…which has never happened, but y’know…moms…we worry.

The YouTube channel is an excellent idea that is currently being discussed on Facebook, building on this section: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnOmmlPDRB7UmhtOF-fdflA

Thanks for commenting, hope we meet at a USMNT game soon!

Comment by soccerfamilystyle




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: