This story isn't really about me, nor about the Sounders. I am posting it right where it belongs, on a blog dedicated to the current holders of the MLS Cup - Real Salt Lake. It is a story about the fans, but not the hundreds that I met over the MLS Cup Final weekend, but instead it is about those that traveled to the regular season match here.
You see I started this little tradition of visiting the away support section and thanking those that travel to support their team. I can't travel right now, the economics don't work out, but I love those that do. Even those that support the opposition.
When I visited the San Jose fans they threatened me with violence (Brad Pitt wannabees), and mocked me for not supporting the Sounders in the past (my first Sounders match was in 1999). I should have asked them why they didn't support the Bay Seals.
When I visited the Toronto fans they were just Canadians who live in Seattle full time. Mostly they were from BC too, which should be real fun in another year.
When I visited the Fire fans - wait those were Timbers fans. I didn't visit. They took the worst of the TA and paid them to put on Fire gear. There was nothing to thank.
Throughout the season I did what I could to shake a few hands and say thank you. Sometimes security didn't want me to do so, and then I just shouted thank you.
But I had the good fortune of going right into 203 during Salt Lake's visit to Seattle during the season and talking to those fans. Not only were they pleasant, but disappointed, they were also welcoming. So much so that a man and woman I had just met said "When you come to Salt Lake on a road trip you can stay in our basement."
I say again, this couple invited my seatmates and I to stay at their home for a proper weekend of soccer. The understanding was that there would be a sporting battle on gameday between the lines, but that before and after there would just be joy, love of the game and companionship.
It lead us to thinking, if our group of five does one road trip this year, it will be to Salt Lake. Not to take up that offer, but because we want to be welcomed into a city, even as rivals in the stadium.