Seattle Sounders FC - 2009 & 2010 US Open Cup Champions
In match #6, 2010 at BMO Field, Sounders FC went on the road to face-off with Toronto FC, I made a horrible, inexcusable supporter mistake. Seemingly safe from such mistakes, I was at home in Highland Park, a quiet West Seattle neighborhood, in the comfort of my own home. When I broke one of the basic laws of soccer viewership while supporting your clubs away matches. I watched alone. No excuses, I messed up. Sounders lost 2-nil. Not even, “we had more of the game” from Sigi Schmid, helped the sour result. Some people still say that loss was my fault. Freddie Ljungberg left Seattle without saying “good-bye, Ryan”. In soccer, you never watch alone.
Since that match I have reached out to acquire many quality skills in properly watching soccer alone. Required viewing; “The Social Network“. Check. Acquire an IT specialist. Check. He is someone who knows the statistical vocabulary, and freakonomic calculations behind web design. My IT Specialist is, Thomas Breuler, whose growing certifications through, Western Governors University cause me only one minor problem. He owns a restaurant with his wife, Avalon, so I’ll be washing dishes for a long time. Add Twitter account. Check. Add Sales on Sounders Facebook page. Check. Read and heed valuable Sounders supporter words of wisdom and advice for soccer-viewing while alone. Check. My good friend and Sounders Supporter, Todd Hodges said, “the communal exhale in victory, defeat, or draw is a vital part of the release”, when viewing and supporting your club. Not to wax too spiritual, but if you’re connected with everything “out there” then, Todd’s right, you will truly never watch alone.
This time I’m ready. Only a 25-minute bus ride away from joining 36,000. A quick auto-swipe of an Orca Bus Pass, and it’s a Metro dash to Qwest Field. I’ll be in the hive of the Capitol of Soccer in America. Seattle hosts Toronto FC this Saturday, May 3oth at 7:00, from its home pitch, Qwest Field.
“It’s not just the story that’s being told. It’s how it’s being told”. Daniel Mendelsohn, The New York Review of Books, “Why She Fell”.
Julie Taymor, Spider Man, Turn off the Dark director
Mendelsohn, composed a wonderful essay chronicling, Julie Taymor‘s reasons for launching herself into the massive undertaking that is, Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark, the struggling, in process, Broadway musical. Her successful development as a director and creative mind behind other acclaimed productions, like Lion King, opened doors for her to take this type of “leap of faith” risk. In taking risk with such abandon, she literally takes artistic leaps without knowing if a net is below. She creates successful communal release and lands on her feet more than meeting the thud of failure. Unfortunately, the production rehearsals of Spider Man had too many thuds from falling actors without nets. Which caused her recent ousting from Spider Man. The musical has failed to the tune of $65 million. The Sounders would do well in the transfer window with that Broadway Bound Budget. Is Julie Broken? Maybe. Repairable? Proven. Julie puts no less than the entirety of her soul into her work. She will land on her feet again.
Steve Zakuani‘s leg was broken last Friday night in the third minute of the match with Colorado Rapids. Brian Mullan slid with a reckless tackle causing the horrible break to Zakuani. Mullan received a total 10 game suspension and $5,000 fine. It is steep. One of the steepest in MLS history. But Brian has accepted the penalty without challenge. Demonstrating both his wish for Zakuani’s recovery and acceptance for his brief lapse of judgement when launching into his slide tackle.
Julie’s failure and Brian’s recklessness whether artistic or sporting, challenges us to realize a necessary way to play in life is to leap with abandon. Net or no net, leap into risk. The difficult and critical challenge is separating abandon from reckless abandon. Julie Taymor is one of the best at doing so much with so little. The uncloaked actors holding puppets in, Lion King is her genius-mind realized. Brian Mullan has won five MLS Championships with all 5 MLS clubs he has played for. So, even the best can fail. $65 million is not needed to realize an artistic vision. Hard tackles in the 3rd minute of matches while in your opponent’s end of the field are also not needed. The failure in both situations is steep and weighted with heavy retributions. It is necessary to measure who these people are when looking beyond their errors and oversight in recent challenges.
Not to make excuses for their actions.
Julie Taymor and Brian Mullan both failed. This should not be their legacy. These two are among the best of their skilled trades. Their successes outweigh their failures. I’m not making excuses for them, but rather trying to see that how they play the game is with head strong visions. Failure is a hard mask to see through. It’s blinding. How they have played recently is in question. But the final chapters in their stories are long from being published. They play without abandon and without net. They dance the fine line between acceptable and unexplainable. My guess, they are learning even more than most of us how to play alone in such challenging and necessary circumstances that they will once again grace the stage and pitch as champions.
No, these thoughts do not credit Broadway with $65 million. Nor do they unwind the cast on Zakuani’s leg so he can step on the pitch this weekend. For that, I’m angry. I was hundreds of miles from Commerce City, CO and Dicks Sporting Goods Park where Mullan brought Zakuani down. As Twitter lit up with the awful news I wanted to retaliate. I couldn’t watch the replays. I felt a broken supporter in a broken season. I wanted to know why Zakuani fell. Even with improved communication skills, new technology, and communal social mechanisms i felt alone in a lost season. Fortunately, Sreve Zakuani’s words spoken from the heart, kept me from feeling I was watching alone. He spoke to everyone who has ever had to overcome adversity, failure, and feeling alone.
Steve Zakuani #11 - Seattle Sounders #1 draft pick inaugural season 2009
In Steve Zakuani’s own words:
“The long road to recovery has already started and I am fully aware of the mountains ahead of me but I also know that I will go through all of the challenges ahead with a positive attitude using my faith in Jesus Christ as a solid foundation on which to overcome this setback.”
In Liverpool, every match begins by singing “You Never Walk Along”, from the musical, Carousel, by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Who says Broadway and Beckham aren’t as connected as Taymor and Mullan.
Steve Zakuani on Twitter:
24/April: Surgery went well and I am on the road to recovery. “A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.” Speak to you all soon!
24/April: Overwhelmed by msgs of support/encouragement. Can’t change the past, but I’m gonna control my future by remaining positive! One love!
Sounders FC spirit is low. A five match undefeated streak feels forgotten. Our #11 is not in the starting XI for Saturday. 36,000 fans holding #11 signs up for Zakuani to know beyond any possible cognitive doubt he is not alone in Seattle is our selfless hope to lift his spirits. And hopefully our own.
A win Saturday changes everything. Zakuani’s spirit. Club spirit. Supporter spirit. Everything! That dark feeling of failure, even when comically watching your team alone, could fade into the abstract. Leaving Zakuani and every Sounders FC fan a real feeling of communal pride. It will be a tough match. If there is any MLS team capable of the mental metamorphosis needed to leap boldly into uncharted challenges, it is Sounders FC who will accept the challenge to “turn off the dark”, on Saturday night.
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Dedication and acknowledgments
Not a normal feature on, Sales on Sounders, but match #8 seems like a good time for a dedication and “thanks” to a few important people in the growth and support of this page.
Dedicated to the speedy recovery of our speedy Sounder, #11 Steve Zakuani.
Sales on Sounders first promotion: IT Specialist and Man of Infinite Football Wisdom, (a true Red) Thomas Breuler.
Thanks to the first Seattle Restaurant, Avalon, dedicated to viewing and support of Liverpool FC and Sounders FC.
Thanks also to Todd Hodges, a dedicated Sounders Supporter and loyal Sales on Sounders follower.
Additionally, I wish to thank my brother, Aaron Sales for his knowledge, belief, and direct free kick in the butt to push on.
It takes a critically intelligent eye to shed light on a dark moment. Thank you Dan Gardner. Please read the full NY Review of Books essay, “Why She Fell”, by Daniel Mendelsohn.
© 2011 by Ryan J Sales