Fans' View

Fans’ View: A game of brothers

Photo: Paul Rudderow

On one of my favorite podcasts, Men In Blazers, the hosts often say that soccer is a game of fathers and sons. I absolutely love this sentiment and hope it will be true of my future progeny — daughter or son — though for me, soccer is a game of brothers.

Since I can remember, I’ve always looked up to my older brother Chris (only exception being when he tried to make his nickname “Jazz”). He has been a constant presence in my life: all the good and especially there for me during the bad.

Chris is 9 years my senior, but never made me feel like anything less than a best friend. Nine years is no small age gap to bridge and one of the things that helps us do that is a deep love for soccer. Maybe because it wasn’t a mainstream sport. Maybe because we aren’t genetically gifted in the ways football or basketball require. Whatever it is, soccer is the game for us and it’s given us some awesome memories. Whether it was witnessing MLS Cup ‘97 as my then-beloved DC United defeated the Colorado Rapids through sheets of rain, or the time we took the field together on our first adult league team (Go Foxes!),  soccer gave us a way to be equals because when your 19-year old brother joins your team and starts alongside you — well, there’s no way to argue otherwise.

We root for different teams — he still for DC United, me now fully a Union backer — but we can always rely on one another to be a sounding board. You know the beats of the story before you hear it. The shorthand that’s developed and fine-tuned over countless hours of discussion about our squads, sports, and lives rivals that rare near-telepathy achieved when the finest players in the world are appropriately in sync. Or, like these guys:

Being a Union fan is being part of a brotherhood all its own.

Once a week, we’re all on the same playing field. We may come to games or watch them at home or follow them online, but we’re all equals for 90 minutes, swinging on that rope between hope and despair like Tarzan. And when we chant — oh when we chant — is it ever beautiful. Voices rising, bodies jumping, the DOOPs resounding, we operate as one in service to our boys in blue. It’s the way we celebrate the good times and see each other through the bad. Looking to your left at PPL Park and knowing that guy or girl is thinking the same thing you are.

I’ll never know many of my brothers, but it’s nice to know I’ve got them. And it’s time now more than ever to remind the Union that we’ve got them too. You know, like a brother would.

9 Comments

  1. Fantastic piece, Seth! Nicely done.

  2. Great piece! Nice that you can relate to an eight year older brother: most can’t due to the age differential…
    .
    Isn’t Men-in-Blazers ace! Did you know they are also on SiriusXM on Mondays and Fridays at 9am?

  3. I heard the love was passed down to your little sister, too.

    Awesome piece. Crying a little. But then I just go back up to the “Jazz” line and crack up.

  4. I didn’t think I could love soccer more. Really great piece. I tell you this, you know, like a sister would.

  5. Great article! Made me think of fun times with my 9 years older brother too

  6. What a brother, what a writer, and what a great piece!

  7. This boy always amazes me! He is a Favorite!

  8. Well written. I enjoyed it.

  9. Bella Grace says:

    …..Jazz??? Never speaking to him again. (Unless it’s to make fun of him) But I really liked this!

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