Thursday, July 2, 2009
The Power of SuperLiga
This last Sunday night me and my new (first one) wife had the chance to celebrate our marriage by attending our first SuperLiga game, Kansas City vs Santos Laguna. For the first time I’d get to see a Mexican team in action, and I was excited to see Kansas City win.
Or tie, all they needed was a tie.
A Sea of Green
Driving up to the stadium it became apparent that this wasn’t going to be a normal Wizard’s game. Flags were flowing from cars and trucks, colors were represented by the supports marching to stadium, but instead of Wizard’s blue, they were Santos’ green.
Walking up to the stadium, Wizard’s fans were hard to find. A green mass covered the parking lot like algae on the Chinese sea before the Olympics. As we navigated through the crowd to the Cauldron bleachers behind the West goal a glorious vision laid itself out.
Instead of one section of the stadium standing, the whole stadium was on its feet. Wizard’s fans were minorities in their own stadium. Out of the 10,300 that fit into CommunityAmerica ballpark, at least 8,000 were Santos Laguna fans.
Together we transformed the normal somewhat subdued atmosphere into something loud, spirited, and spiritual. The small mass of Blue in the Cauldron battled the larger Santos crowd. Together a roar emitted from CommunityAmerica that has never been heard before.
Sunday, the Wizard’s faltered. Jimmy Conrad picked up an injury in the 45th minute, effectively leaving a gaping hole in defense that his replacement, McKenzie, just could not fill. Santos took full advantage of the counter and despite good chances by the Wizard’s scored the first goal.
As I stood silent, I looked around me at the crowd, loud cheering, green, standing, happy. They had come together from all over Kansas for a taste of home. To see Santos Laguna run. To love the colors. To move away from rumors, telephone conversations, gossip, radio, and TV. A chance to see your home team after years in the flat fields of Kansas.
From Anger to Laughter
As the game moved on, Santos scored again rousing the crowd into ecstasy. The Wizard’s threw hope into the crowd when Lopez stroked an incredible free kick that floated into the goal.
My anger and frustration at the Wizard’s sloppy play made me yell and scream. It made me sit down and hold my head in my hands. It made me chant and sing.
Then Santos Laguna showed their speed and killed off the game on a lightning fast counter attack. All of a sudden our hopes were gone and my mood shifted from anger to laughter. I threw back my head and laughed. The Wizard’s had lost: we were destroyed, Santos had won, but my anger faded away.
Now was the time to enjoy the incredible atmosphere.
As the Santos Laguna crowd danced and sang, I smiled.