I attended a soccer game once, in 2012. Thanks to my job at the time, I got box seats at a Galaxy-Whitecaps game in Vancouver. It was an exciting experience to me because Beckham was on the field at the time, and I recieved an unlimited supply of free cider and nachos. I was mostly excited about the nachos - the actual game was somewhat wasted on me, as is the case with most sporting events.
Apparently I have been doing sports wrong.
I have wanted to go to a Fury game for awhile - it seemed like a pleasant way to spend an afternoon: outdoors, with steady access to snacks and beverages. So when I was invited to sit with the Stony Monday Riot faction, I was down.
Now, I know that some people get really into soccer. I’m friends with those people. I just didn’t realize how many of those people were in Ottawa.
To sit in the Riot section is to accept these conditions:
- You will not sit down
- You will chant, or at the very least clap along
- You WILL BUY INTO THIS GAME
The last is important. I did not walk into the stadium a huge Fury supporter, but by god, by the time the game had started, I was deeply concerned about the results of this match. My future happiness was suddenly dependent on so many factors outside of my control: the strength of the players, the ref’s bad calls, all I could do was just watch. That, and cheer.
Unlike the rows flanking the supporter section, which call for cheering seemingly only when necessary, the Riot section is a game-long production. You are channeling all of your nervous energy into support for the team, and you will do it by any means necessary. Popular chants include:
• A chant about the war of 1812 and that whole white-house-burning-down incident
• Chants about how Edmonton sucks (even though we were playing Miami)
• “Our house, in the middle of the Glebe” (particularly catchy)
It is all very entertaining, and super high energy, and it is hard not to get swept up in it. Instead of passively watching a match, you’re contributing to it, as if your chants and cheers are powering the game forward.
Stony Monday Rioters congregate at “The Rock” by Gate 3, and sell tickets to their section separately. I HIGHLY recommend spending a game with the superfans. Just make sure that you’re prepared to work. It’s a give and take relationship: you need to pour some soul into the effort, but you’ll be rewarded with a whole new take on soccer, and a hell of an exciting experience.