I’m going into my fifth year of Quakes soccer. I have to admit, I was humoring a buddy of mine when he first asked me to join him on a trip to Buck Shaw.
That first match completely changed my point-of-view. No longer was soccer the game of kids and hipsters – it was an art, a battle, a gathering of passionate supporters. If you’re reading this, then it’s nothing new to you. You probably know that MLS is quickly rejected by numbers of American soccer fans for distant leagues. You know that grassroots organizations are ignored for groups in unfamiliar places.
But I changed my attitude quickly…
That first game was a cathartic anagnorisis of sports brilliance. It was the first time I saw Wondo score. It was my first experience viewing the unmistakable gold locks of Steven Lenhart (while he wore the Crew yellow). As soon as I heard the boom of the drum and the chants of the Ultras, I was in.
For the first time, I had found a local sports team I could relate to. I experienced emotion with players like I never had with other athletes. A close miss was disappointment. A conceded goal was heartbreak. A ball in the back of the opponents’ net was shared exuberance and fist pumping.
When I think back to that first game, I realize that I have not lost much of the passion I found on that day. I’ve finally bought season tickets, and my wardrobe is well-stocked with Quakes gear.