From the Terraces: How to Give Your Full 90

Discussion in 'Seattle Sounders FC Supporters Club' started by rbjdbkilla, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. rbjdbkilla

    rbjdbkilla Member

    Feb 2, 2010
    Seattle Sounders
    ECS Member Aaron Reed explains the mystery behind the phrase and breaks it down into chewable pieces. Read on for more!
    Giving Your Full 90 in Three Easy Steps:

    In a literal sense, ‘The Full 90′ refers to an entire 90 minute soccer match. Giving your Full 90 is to be engaged in the action, and be a part of something that doesn’t exist anywhere else in sports that I have seen.
    Baseball (my first love) is short bursts of action, occasionally accompanied by cheering, booing, or clapping rhythmically whenever the scoreboard says you should. But it’s a leisurely game, it takes up most of an afternoon, and there’s lots of down time for chatting, walking around, and generally ignoring the “action” on the field. Football (the American one, with the pointy brown ball) is more engaging, especially in Seattle. Fans make a wall of noise when the home team is on defense, and cheer good plays on offense (briefly, the scoreboard shushes you if it goes on too long) but there are still long periods of inactivity. There are numerous clock stoppages, and each one provides a break for fans to have a seat, catch their breath, and check on their fantasy team. And then there’s soccer. I’m not here to tell you why one sport is better than another, or to try and convince you that you should love ‘the beautiful game’. I’m here to point out the unique fan experience that only soccer can provide. It’s also worth a note that since I ‘discovered’ soccer, I can’t sit through a baseball game anymore and even find myself frustrated by the long slow periods in American football.
    I had lived my whole life attending ‘major’ professional sports in America (NBA, MLB, NHL, and NFL), and as a result I thought I was a good fan. I cheered the good things, I booed the bad things, and I clapped when I was supposed to. I was completely unprepared for soccer.
    On March 19, 2009 I attended my first non-exhibition soccer match. Seattle Sounders FC were hosting New York, and I was there with my brand-new scarf (I didn’t know why) ready to cheer on the home team. At least I thought I was ready. You see, I’d never given a Full 90 (or 60, or 9 innings, or whatever) and I didn’t even understand what that really meant.
    Here’s the basic steps that I learned that night:
    1) Stand up. Seems pretty basic, but not everybody is prepared for that. My Seahawks tickets are in the south endzone, and we stand for the whole game anyway, so I was already prepared for that.
    2) Make noise. I’m not into the horns, but I sure didn’t mind yelling. I had no idea what I was yelling about, but I could feel the flow of energy in the stadium and that told me when things were going good, going bad, or about to change. Add in the fact that I could hear ‘SOUN-DERS *clap, clap, clap*’ starting up every so often, and I was yelling my fool head off most of the time. Later in the season, the ‘SEA-TTLE’ ‘SOUN-DERS’ full stadium call and repeat got going, and I thoroughly enjoyed that. Add on singing ‘Bluest Skies’ after the anthem, and I was having a blast.
    3) Nothing. There is no third thing. You can be a good soccer fan in America by doing those two things for 90 minutes per game. For lots of people, that’s enough. Stand, yell, cheer, make noise, participate in the full stadium chants, sing a little, and go home.
    But I wanted more. On that opening night, there were two things that captured my imagination in a way I never expected; the action on the field, and the action in the south end. I had never heard of Emerald City Supporters (or any other supporters, for that matter) and had no idea who those people were or what they were doing. I could see the passion, I could hear the songs (couldn’t make out the words), and I could actually feel how much they loved this team. I turned to my friend and said “we need to meet these people, and learn their ways”. I was on a mission to become a supporter. I won’t bore you with the details, but you should know that I didn’t run straight to the ECS membership table the following week. I spent time pregame with another group, and I went to watch a road game with them at a viewing party. Their love of the team and of the game was clear, but they would watch the action on TV in relative silence, punctuated by oohs & aahs and the occasional comment in soccer-speak about how somebody needed to do something that I couldn’t fully comprehend.
    When I went to watch a road game with ECS at the pub, I was taken aback by how much it felt like gameday. They sang Bluest ‘Skies’ at kickoff, and then kept going. The songs were fun, infections, occasionally profane, and I loved them. I knew right away this was what I was looking for, and I sang along as best I could for the whole game. Afterward, somebody I had never met before came up to me and said something to the effect of ‘Hey, I noticed you giving it your all for the full 90, good job.’ I stood next to ECS for the first time at the US Open Cup Semifinal against Houston at Starfire on July 21st. I officially joined ECS on August 5th. I didn’t go into the GA to stand alongside them until October 24th.
    There are several good reasons why I waited nearly three months to go into the GA. Ticket availability and the fact that the back end of the schedule was loaded with road games count as two of the really good excuses. But since you’ve read this far, I might as well give you the truth. I never told anybody this, but I was afraid. Not afraid of the mythical soccer ‘hooligans’ or any other bogeyman. I was afraid I would let the true supporters down by not doing a good enough job. I had jumped headfirst into some other ECS ventures (away viewings and tifo parties) so I had met some wonderful people that I didn’t want to let down on gameday. I didn’t know it then in the right terms, but I wanted to give them my FULL 90 so that they would understand that I felt the same passion they did.
    On October 24th I did these things; I got to the stadium early, I sang as loud as I could, I chanted as loud as I could, I jumped up & down (pogo’d) as hard as I could, and that night I slept as hard as I could. On October 25th I couldn’t speak above a whisper. I could barely walk from all the jumping. I never felt better. To be honest, I barely saw any of the game. I knew we won, but I couldn’t describe any of the goals to you. All I knew was that we had an impromptu mosh pit/hugging spree when the goals were scored. I watched it on the DVR and I was proud. Proud of myself. Proud of the ECS. Proud of the Sounders. Giving my FULL 90 for the first time made me feel like I was part of the success.
    Players have acknowledged how the crowd spurred them on during the grueling marathon Open Cup game against Houston that went into OT. That game inspired many (including me) to start referring to the FULL 120. Full time plus two 15 minute overtimes. I still try to give 120 every match. I do the math like this: 20 minutes before + 100 minutes during (45 minutes + 5 min stoppage time each half) = FULL 120.
    Here are the steps I follow for every match (home and away):
    1) Stand up (jump up and down a little)
    2) Make noise (sing and chant my head off)
    3) Nothing (there is still no third thing)
    The FULL 90 (or 120) is in all of us and it’s not hard, or complicated, or mysterious. Go to the games. Give voice to your passion. Don’t ever stop until the very end. Never forget that it’s not about your comfort, it’s about the team. People who want to watch the game in peace from a comfortable, quiet vantage point are advised to stay at home with a couch, a fridge, and a big TV. I’ll be at the game, giving it my all. I can always watch it later and know that, win or lose, I was a part of the action instead of a spectator.
    Up the Sounders and Up the ECS!

    Aaron Reed, aka CursedFrogurt

    (I am not Aaron, I'm just another ECS member)

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