It’s been approximately 10 months since I sat in Rio Tinto Stadium to watch my team RSL play. I still remember leaving that night knowing I would not be a season ticket holder for next year. It felt like I was leaving the funeral services of a beloved friend. The saying goodbyes to all my friends that I become to feel as family in the ADA field section. Even the ushers and other employees that got to know me on a personal level. It was a sad goodbye and a long drive home. I was sad and a little angry about the exit of my 10+ years of being a STH. But RSL management with their near 100% price increase on my seat location forced me and others out. Yup, the front office decided that those seats are now Premium seating and if the handicapped STH wants to sit where they have been sitting for years, you will pay premium price. So I found myself now longer a STH.
So you can imagine my excitement when I attended my first game this season on August 5th vs. Houston. As I walked into the stadium it all came back to me. Surrounded by fans in their RSL jerseys or jerseys of another club. All there to be a part of the game. That’s what I like about soccer fans. Their passion for the game. It doesn’t matter who’s jersey your wearing. You love the game and we all have that in common. You don’t find that at football, baseball, basketball games. Soccer fans are different and more passionate about the game. They are willing to swap scarves or jerseys with each other! You are there because of your love for RSL and the world’s most popular sport. There is no comparing the atmosphere in any other sport like the atmosphere at a soccer stadium.
As I made my way down the steps of section 31, I could hear the excitement building in the air. As I got closer to the field, I could smell the freshly cut grass of the pitch. Fans were all talking with each other. Laughing, shaking hands, giving hugs. I watched RSL go through their warm up drills. They exited to the locker room. The big screen was doing the random fan shots of fans having fun dancing. The shots of kids with their mom and dad’s. It was joyous. Then the players came back out to the pitch with the anthem that always plays as the enter holding hands with boys and girls with the biggest smiles on their faces. The players talking to them as they walk. Something so special they will never forget. The Flag ceremony and National Anthem being sung with the crowd yelling "BOOM!" at the right moment.. The players take the field, the crowd singing "I Believe". I was taking it all in. The atmosphere, the perfect weather, everything. Yup! I was home again.