Sportsball: The Seasoning of the Sounders Faithful

When I first got Sounders tickets five years ago, my section was a weekly bacchanal of boozing and profanity. Now it’s a nursery.

On Saturday, my seatmate brought his 2-year-old. The couple one row below, who once lived in Capitol Hill and would reliably down five beers each, now live in Richmond Beach and have to stay sober for the drive home. They brought their newborn. Most galling, the guy a row above me who used to blow a vuvuzela right in my ear had fit his infant with mini-headphones. Oh, OK—suddenly you care about hearing loss.

Meanwhile, across the aisle and down a row, the presence of 39,244 strangers was no deterrent to a mom who wanted to breast-feed her child. Out it came, in front of Obafemi Martins and everyone. I fully support this—why should she have risked missing Marco Pappa’s mind-blowing free kick just because she had a kid? It’s either miss the action or go back in time and hire a wet nurse.

I have nothing against babies—some of my best friends were babies once—but the harvest of children certainly has altered the tenor of the games. Circle of life, right? Presumably there’s some other section replenished with young childless folks, cursing and drinking freely. But I’m not going to move there.

If you’ve never had season tickets before, whether to sports or the opera or the legitimate stage, I can’t recommend it enough. Claiming the same view year in and year out lends an extra sense of permanence to every event you see. What’s better is the relationships you form with the folks who sit around you. I had Mariner season tickets for three years, and one of the reasons I’m using past tense is that the tickets around us were obviously up for sale on StubHub. Every game, a different group of people would plop down around us—or, as the team declined, no people at all. Often what fans there were couldn’t have cared less about the game. The last straw, for me, was when someone asked me to sit down between innings because they couldn’t see the hydro race.

Would never happen in my Sounders section. Even though it means tossing an infant on their backs, the new parents still stand for the whole game.

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