Back in August, my husband the luchador did a little video of his time at Meet the Revs, in which you can see him ask stupid questions of various players and coaches. Then MLSnet announced a contest where, in exchange for a video of yourself interviewing anyone, you could win a trip for two to MLS Cup in Seattle, including hotel, airfare, some spending cash, and a gift certificate to MLS Gear. Mike sent in his Meet the Revs clip.
Mike’s video won. (skip to 6:23)
This can only mean one thing: an in-jokey trip report that’s name-drop-tacular. Follow along with the photos as you read!
After two weeks of back and forth of bookings and t-shirt design (MLS asked me to do a limited-edition shirt), we lit out to catch the 6:00 to Chicago on our way to our first MLS Cup without the Revs in the race. Friggin’ Twellman wouldn’t take us to the airport! Razor-thin connection at O’Hare, landed in Seattle around 11. Immediately got a text from The Original Winger asking where I could be found. Answer: getting lunch (HEY AA FEED PEOPLE ON FLIGHTS AGAIN THX) and buying west coast-only candy. That’s real important.
The entire city was done up for the Cup final. DC was kind of decorated–at least the league hotel was–for 2007, but this was crazy! Both league hotels completely covered, down to the room keys, signs on street lamps, the Space Needle, everyone asking if we were in town for the game. And since Qwest Field is right downtown, not far from the hotels, all the fans and players and league management and media were all in the same places. Everywhere you went, you saw someone wearing a team scarf, most frequently Seattle or Salt Lake. Being from one of the MLS venues that forgets it has a team, this was mind-blowing.
After Mike took a nap and I got my nails done, we headed to meet up with some DC buddies, who loudly complained about Tom Brady for some reason. Then it was off to the league welcome party at the Seattle Aquarium; we’d been given invitations as part of the prize package.
So, you’re at a huge fancy party in which most of the boldface names in American soccer are in attendance. What’s the first thing you do? If you’re me, the answer is “get your hand stuck in a sea anemone.”
The party was neat, but a bit awkward, as it was high on players and personnel and low on people who actually knew us by name. They did serve cocktails in Seattle team colors, which is to say Windex and Antifreeze.
We’d have stayed longer, but the league party conflicted with the Designated Players party, where we were to meet some journalist/blogger people, plus our Houston, DC, and Seattle pals. You know what is AWESOME about American soccer fandom? Having buddies in every city who not only will meet up with you for a drink, but who know what you usually order at the bar. We’d have liked to have stayed longer–apparently this was where everyone migrated when the league party wrapped–but about midnight it hit us we’d been awake for about 24 hours.
On Saturday, we went to the Supporters’ Summit, where people from all the teams’ supporter’s groups meet every year for a Q&A with, among others, the commissioner, match officials, etc. This year, it was Drew Carey interviewing Don Garber. Garber told Mike to sit down. Several people, as is custom at these events, asked arcane questions that pertain to their specific club, not the league itself. Then, as required by league charter, someone asked about single table/promotion-relegation.
The Summit was excellent; the Seattle groups did a great job as hosts. We had to duck out slightly early to meet up with the Extra Time crew to make plans for Sunday’s pre-game show. Shep Messing’s way nicer than we thought he’d be. I did not run out barefoot onto the pitch, as LA were wrapping up their training session. Next time.
After a nap and dinner, we took up the pub crawl. Dug the “coffeehouse, but for beer” vibe of Elysian Fields, where we met up with Rev alumnus James Riley. We also joined up with our buddy Marc, a Rev fan who lives in Seattle, a couple of Rev fans who came out from Davis Square, and our Houston pals. Stuck around for a bit and then went to Fuel, where Kasey Keller was doing a meet and greet, which was the only reason we put up with the place–the crowd of LA fans arguing with the bouncer out front should have tipped us off. Anyway, Keller was great, even if the crowd had been drinking since about the All-Star Game.
Headed to the next bar, met up with Brucio and Loney; we had a great time thinking of songs the house band could play to make them even worse (“Pass the Dutchie!” “PASS THE DUTCHIE!”). Some Revs management showed up (“Yeah, uh, don’t ask Cathal about France, okay?”) and we hung out for a little while before moving the party onwards.
Last bar of the night was jammed, and this is where we ran into some of our player buddies, like everyone’s internet boyfriend Jimmy Conrad and emo keeper Joe Cannon. Mike noticed that official MLS cockatiel Kevin Hartman was at the bar, so he asked Cannon what to talk to him about.
“Ask him who’s better at Halo 3, him or me?” he said.
Mike posed the question. “Some people, they work part time. Other people, they work full time. Me, I work overtime,” said Hartman, cutting a promo for his appearance on WWE Raw.
Hartman was also the only person the entire weekend who immediately identified our scarves as Midnight Riders. I’m not sure what to make of that.
On Sunday, we had brunch with our pal Pam, taking a break from the soccer to talk about less nerdy things, like collecting anime toys.
Pregame, we took in the Tour de Free Shit that is the Soccer Celebration, getting some free swag (Merry Christmas, Nephews, love, your cheap aunt and uncle) and autographs and photos with players. Next time, I really am gonna steal something from Stu Holden.
Jason came and retrieved us to do Mike’s Extra Time spot, during which I entertained myself by chatting with some of the actual journalists who were on the sidelines. See, all weekend long, people seemed to know who I was, asking if I was “the artist,” or something like that. I’m a jerk in in the cheap seats with some paint and a Twitter account! How’d this happen? This was roughly as mind-blowing as the city’s turnout for the game.
Ives asked if I had a spare scarf, since I “always seem to have one.”
“Just this one,” I said, “and really, you can’t be seen wearing a New England scarf.” He agreed.
For his Extra Time segment, Mike interviewed Drew Carey. They talked about action figures. I’m not making that up.
Gametime: Man, feels weird to have gone to an MLS Cup and actually be willing and able to talk about the outcome. Except a whole ton of people, many of whom are namedropped here, get paid to do that, and better than I could. I will say I’m feelin’ pretty smug about having called LA living to regret the Findley trade when it happened, except everybody knew that was coming. That and wow, I remember 2005, the Revs ran the table, had MVP, Rookie of the Year, heavy favorites to win MLS Cup, except here’s this team that backed into the playoffs, and…yeah, about that.
Postgame, we were all pretty worn out, so we joined our retinue and went out for dinner before calling it a weekend. Ran into some LA fans headed for the flight of shame in the airport security line on Monday morning; oh, lord, have I been there. Got back to Boston at about 6pm with a stack of t-shirts, business cards, and miscellaneous crap.
As a closer to one weird-ass season of “how the hell did I get here” and “wait, people are listening to me,” I couldn’t have asked for a better final.
Okay, except for one where the Revs win. Maybe next year.