MLS – What a Surprise!

I have just returned from a 10 day vacation, and am just trying to settle back in and get my head together. There are several things I want to touch on, and I will over the next few days. In the meantime, though, I just want to talk about one of the more entertaining, and certainly most surprising, aspects of our trip. My wife and I went on a west coast adventure that started in Napa and wound up this morning in Seattle. We were wandering around downtown Seattle yesterday evening killing time until our dinner reservation when we came across what first seemed like a riot in Pioneer Square. It turns out that it was a couple thousand screaming Seattle Sounders fans dancing and singing to a 42 piece band. It was the pre-game preparations for the evening’s MLS game, and it was crazy fun.

I like soccer just fine, and when it comes to big events I love it, but I have never even given the MLS more than the slightest thought. It just doesn’t register for me. This celebration was so exciting and infectious, though, that we got swept  up. We headed right to Qwest Field, bought ourselves a couple of tickets, added a couple of scarves like every other person in the place was wearing, and settled in to watch the game.

The place was crazy. They modify the seating to close off the seats in one end of the stadium and in much of the upper level, so there are over 36,000 seats available, and most of them were filled – official attendance was over 36,000. The one endzone was filled with a crazed group of fans that would give even the best student sections a run for their money. They didn’t stop singing and dancing for the entire game. The first time we truly got a sense that we were in for something strange was when the game was about to get started. Everyone stood, and we assumed it was just for the opening seconds. It turns out that the whole stadium stands up for the entire 90 minute game. It’s a thing in Seattle, I guess.

I could go on, but let me leave it at this – I was very pleasantly surprised by the MLS. 90 minutes before the game started I never would have imagined that I would go to a MLS game. Now I would make a point of going to another one if I was in the area of one. I’m still not going to watch it on TV or follow the league, but I was very impressed by the product and the entertainment value. Good stuff.

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