During the very first Sounders game I ever watched, the keeper at the time (Casey Keller) got a red card. The game did not go well to say the least, but I was watching at a friends house with friends and I had a good time. Between then and now, I’ve tried on a lot of different kinds of Sounders-fan hats. I’ve held season tickets for multiple years, spent a year fully in supporters section and a couple before that in the seats just above it. I’ve tried traveling to Portland and Vancouver. Last year and this year I let my seat go for the season, opting to be an opt-in arm-chair supporter. By the end of last season I wasn’t even watching the games from home, consistently.

I feel like admitting that is sort of shameful since a lot of my friends, especially my internet-friends, are active and enthusiastic supporters. They travel across the country and in some cases through a significant portion of Central and South America as well. They sing, chant, dance, yell, drink, and hug, spreading their joy all through the people around them. They wear tattoos, and colors with pride. They have their own culture.

There are times that I want to be a part of that, and then there’s times that I feel like Jane Goodall amongst the apes; where it’s a huge drain on me. I don’t like to divide people into “introverted” and “extroverted” because we’re much more complex than that but it’s a useful model for me in this case. People who are more introverted spend energy being around lots of other people, while extroverted people gain energy by being around others. The combination of feeling somewhat introverted mixed with building anxiety and alcohol being a big trigger for me means that the worse I got, the harder and harder it was to find any joy in something that I wanted so hard to love.

It didn’t help that either I was feeling disappointed and sad about a game that went badly, or the crowd was happy about something and I was getting surprise hugs from enthusiastic but large and strange men I didn’t know. There just wasn’t a way to win. The fact that the season I really burnt out was the season that “we” won the championship was particularly frustrating.

This season I’m trying, so far, to pick things back up, cautiously. I’m watching the first game of the season as I type, legs on my husbands lap, laptop settled comfortably. I’m not stressing about whats happening, even though we’re losing by 2 at the half right now. I don’t have any control over how the game goes so there’s nothing to be anxious about. I got to watch a gorgeous save by Frei early on, a spectacular goal by the opposing team, and it’s only the first half. There’s a lot of game and a lot of season yet to go.

I hope I can enjoy it, without it crushing me like it has in the past. I want to!

A twitter buddy of mine is committing to writing 500 words a day on some topic, and invited others to join her. Feel free to write alongside us, exercise those grammar muscles, and do a little wordsmithing. The hashtag on twitter is #500wordsAbout.