So my friend T and I bought tickets and headed to the game to discover that we were only about three rows up from the field. What does this mean? That's right! We were smack in the middle of the Soccer Lovin' Crowd. Everyone around us was wearing Real Salt Lake jerseys and scarves-- the scarves confused me at first because they made me feel like I had stepped into a Harry Potter movie-- but then I remembered that I was actually at a sporting event (silly me, how could I forget?) and I snapped out of the magic moment.
It was an exciting game. For everyone else because they were actually watching the game. For me because the Soccer Lovin' Crowd enthralled me. These people were passionate about their soccer-- not only did they have the scarves to prove it but they knew the players' names: "That was dull footwork, Tony!"
But the thing about soccer is this: the most exciting parts are when one of the teams actually comes sort of close to scoring a goal. Which means they run up and down the field and pass the ball to each other and then maybe, just MAYBE, one player takes the risk and manages to kick the ball toward the goal. Then the crowd goes wild and everyone stands up and starts cheering on Tony or whoever and THEN, just when you think somebody might actually score a point during the 90-minute game, a player with great calves from the opposing team who has been standing there the whole time suddenly decides to block the ball and kick it down the field. And everyone sits down and yells at Tony for his dull footwork.
As I witnessed this, I couldn't help but wonder how 16,000 fans (that's how many attended on Saturday night) aren't completely bummed out by so many letdowns. I mean, at least in basketball or football points are scored fairly regularly. But in soccer, the crowd gets a rush from the HOPE of a point being scored. As I observed this phenomenon, I wondered if I would be more content with my life if I applied the soccer principle-- if merely the HOPE of a date or a dream job or a hot fudge sundae or a European vacation would be as satisfying as if it actually happened.
I don't know. Maybe I will have to consult more Zen articles.