—by Kelsey Miglioretto
It’s been over two weeks since the Thorns have graced the pitch at Providence Park and it will be two more until we see them there again. So, if you, like me, suffer from TSA (Thorns Separation Anxiety), you’ll be happy to know that the last game of this away trip is in that little fishing village up north. Since we already know that you want to go (even if you don’t think you do, trust me, you want to go) here’s some tips to make the best of the experience.
Get On The Bus:
It’s a decently long drive to Memorial Stadium. There will be traffic in Olympia and Tacoma, not to mention having to battle downtown traffic in Seattle itself. Spare yourself all this hassle by getting on one of the Riveters’ buses. All you have to do is show up at the meeting place and get on! We’ve even supplied a couple kegs (one of beer and one of cider) for your ride north. How else are you going to (legally and safely) show up to Memorial pre-gamed with a drink or two (or three) and ready to go for the match?
The Ride North:
Once you’re on the bus, there are a few tips to be learned from those who have done this before. First of all, make sure you check that the bathroom on the bus is functional before you start drinking. You don’t want to be two beers in before you realize that you actually have to wait until Centralia to use a restroom. Second, introduce yourself to those around you that you don’t know. The bus is a great place to get to know your fellow Riveters and make new friends. The bus is also a great place to write new chants. Let’s enter the stadium singing a brand new song to cheer on our Thorns. Lastly, it’s a tradition for first timers to bring a baked good for the author of travel blogs.
When it comes to food and beverage, expect the standard stadium fare. You won’t find the great choices that we have at Providence Park: no giant sandwiches, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, or rotating food carts. Many travelers choose to bring food and eat on the bus before the game. Be warned that there is limited alcohol in Memorial Stadium. The stadium itself has a no adult beverage policy, but the Reign have gotten permission to have a beer garden. If you consider adult beverages a key part of your game day experience, they will have to be consumed away from our section or before or after the match. This is where the kegs that we have on the buses come in handy. Also, if you anticipate needing to use the restroom at the stadium, I suggest you go early and wear closed-toed shoes. I personally have only used them once before a game, but stories have been shared of less than stellar conditions in the Memorial Stadium restrooms.
In case you don’t already realize, we’ll be entering a stadium full of thousands of people rooting for the other team. We’re not going to be their favorite people. Some will let us know this. Some of them will do so loudly. It’s our job as visiting fans to let these incidents slide. You’re going to have to get used to people yelling things at you that you might not like. To prepare, I suggest you call that uncle with opposite political views from yours and asking them why they’ve chosen their preferred presidential candidate. If you, like me, don’t have their phone number, you can actually read the articles they post to Facebook. In addition, since we are guests in another team’s stadium, we should keep the language respectable. There’s no need to give one of Seattle’s supporters groups more reasons to flash that “Keep It Classy, Portland” sign at us.
Let’s Pretend We’ll Score A Goal:
The Thorns haven’t had the best of luck at Memorial. Over the past two years, we’ve been beaten there by a combined score of 8-0. While I’m always one to look on the bright side and hope for the best, there are also times when one needs to prepare for the worst. Personally, I’m going to be happy if we manage to score a goal. If we don’t, I’m hoping you’ll all join me in this chant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PpJBR_rQJk
In all seriousness, while I’m hoping for Seattle’s second loss at Memorial, there’s more to this trip than who comes away with three points. It’s about being with fellow supporters, having a great time, and cheering on our girls in red.