“What was that?” he shouted. “Something just brushed up against my elbow!”
“Ohhh, I think that was my hair!” I shouted back to our friend amongst the loud crowd. “Just like we haven’t been to a game in more than two years, I also haven’t gotten a hair cut in more than two years!”
Despite cheering with an N95 on, everything felt oddly “normal.” We were (finally) at a Sounders match for the first time since March 2020. This was a big deal for us — and an even bigger deal huge for the Sounders. They were in the CONCACAF Champions League Finals! (I won’t bore you with the details if you aren’t familiar with soccer. You can read here for more. Spoiler: We won!!!)
What took Bryce and I so long to make it out to a game when we are season ticket holders? Apparently, being parents to a baby really changes your lifestyle. We’ve been cautious about where we choose to take our baby, and also where we go without her. (This means we hadn’t been going anywhere. And, yes, our baby is very acquainted with the great outdoors but knows nothing about the indoors.)
This would also be considered our first date night since baby was born last June. Although, we didn’t go out while I was pregnant so I suppose this was our first date since March 2020.
With my dad being able to babysit, we were thankful to attend the match. Oh, and baby smiled and waved as we drove away, so that was a relief. We were seven minutes late to the game, but I honestly was surprised it wasn’t more seeing how far we had to park. The good news was we didn’t have to wait in any line at all to get into the stadium (unlike if you had arrived on time.)
I was kind of nervous ahead of going to the match. I had officially decided we would attend five days prior to match day. This would be my first time in a crowd since, yep, you guessed it, March 2020.
As soon as we stepped into the stadium it was as if we hadn’t missed any games. Well, except for the fact that I kept my phone in my pocket when we went through security at the entrance. I swear I saw a sign that said you could keep your phone and keys in your pocket. Did I misread? I know in the past you had to empty your pockets so I did think it was weird. I also texted my dad at one point saying there was 55 minutes left in the game when I looked at the game clock and saw 55:00. Right after I sent the text, I knew I was wrong. The clock isn’t a countdown! It’s showing how much time has elapsed in the game! (Soccer is always 90 minutes.) I guess it had been a while so my brain had momentarily forgotten I had to do simple math to calculate how much time remained.
It was endearing to see the “butt dancers” at half time. They’re still around! (They are a group of friends who turn their backs to the field and shake their butts to try to get on camera because they sit right above the band.) It was good to see Nancy from afar. She was our section usher who now has been promoted to the lead of multiple sections. And, of course, it was fun to celebrate not only a huge win for the Sounders, but also to celebrate the gold elevator winning at half time. (I’m too sleep-deprived to explain this one. Let me just say our friend’s birthday wish came true. Check Twitter if you want the deets and search “gold elevator.”)
I still had the instinct to cup my hands around the sides of my mouth whenever I wanted to cheer or shout loudly whether it was for a goal or boo-ing the refs after a bad call. Is it moot to do that when you’re wearing a mask anyway? I don’t know, it still felt right.
I’m not sure when our next game will be, but I am very glad we made it out for those 90+ minutes.
It felt good to be back.