Fans' View

Fan’s view: Feels like the first time

Photo courtesy Greg Carroccio/Philadelphia Union

Howdy! It’s been awhile…things have changed, so I thought it was time to check in with everyone.

My eldest son is graduating from high school this weekend, my younger son decided to leave travel soccer this year to focus on theater and, by the way, the Union are in first place.

All this pales in comparison to the madness that was this past Saturday. After 10 seasons, yes, I finally joined the Sons of Ben and sat in the River End.

And man, did I pick a good game to wander in to…

I was flying solo – my son brought a friend to sit in our seats, so I had a single ticket in a random section. Before the game, my friend Richie the Limey (formally of Doop Cast), came to share a beverage in Lot A. As the conversation progressed, he mentioned he had a seat next to him in the River End… it was a match made in heaven.

I have to admit, my worst fear was could I stand for two hours?  I’m aging and wasn’t wearing proper foot wear.

So off we went. Richie has front row tickets in 138. (That’s me in the photo, right next to the railing.) It was nice to see the River End full and even nicer to be surrounded by people who were participating – up on their feet and singing the entire game. Even better was finally being able to understand what we were supposed to be singing. Adam Booth, the Capo on our end, was hysterical. My favorite was when he came into our area with a mega phone and changed some lyrics from “La, La, La, La, La” to “Wawa Wawa wa, Hoagie Fest.”

I was surprised at how easy it was to follow the game from that vantage point. What we couldn’t see on the far end, was easily seen on the big monitor.

But the best part, was of course, the second half. All three goals scored on our end. Celebrations right in front of us. Madness ensued. When Ilsinho rocketed that rebound into the net for goal number three, I truly felt like I was in paradise.

A couple of observations from the River End from an outsider…

  1. It’s hard when you have two different chants going on. And it’s hard when you have the same chant, but one section is a little behind/ahead of the other. That’s where Adam was very helpful in trying to keep us synced up.
  2. It makes me sad that the best that folks can come up with is “F#$% you Red Bulls” and “You suck asshole.” Last week in my section a fan next to me kept screaming “You suck d**k” to one of the players. Eventually a couple of us turned to him and said knock it off – we can be more creative than that.
  3. I felt welcome. As did the dad with his young son. As did the teenage boy next to me. There were all shapes and sizes in the River End. When I looked around, I saw a sea of different faces – races, ages, genders, and all on their feet chanting – the way it’s supposed to be.

I’ve missed you guys. I’ve missed the joy in coming to games. I’ve missed having something to write about.

Things have changed. No more big tailgates, it’s just my younger son and I. And yes, I know we’re winning, but there is a little part of my brain that is nervous this is all a dream.

But for one game in the River End, none of that mattered.

One Comment

  1. Chris Gibbons says:

    The question of standing for two hours resonates with me more and more every year. What a match for your first river end experience though!

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