I always chose to utilize seats with backs and a sideline view, but this time a friend and I decided to give standing behind the goal a go.
I did have some qualms about being a supporter. I had picked up the words (or general sounds) to most of the common chants, but there were plenty of songs that were largely unknown. I was a little intimidated by the outgoing nature of the groups, after all, sitting relatively calmly on the sidelines only involved shouting during goals and egregious officiating mistakes.
But as my friend and I found places in the second row of the Dark Clouds, those doubts were quickly dispelled. Sheets containing the lyrics to the less-common chants were passed around and I was reassured that everyone in the section was just there to have a good time while cheering on their favorite club.
There was no easing into the energy of the match, from shouting the last names of the starters to the first chants. When Christian Ramirez’ early goal sparked a chorus “Minnesota Goal,” I knew I would be fully enjoying the match. The hilarity of Jared Jeffrey’s own goal in the second half, followed by the inevitable “You came a long way just to lose” chant, certainly influenced the fun atmosphere of the whole game.
One of the most impressive things I have ever seen at a Minnesota United home game came around the 70th minute, when True North Elite and those of us in the Dark Clouds went back and forth with an entire corner of the stadium. It was certainly loud in our end of TCF Bank Stadium, and I would imagine it was loud throughout.
Capping off the victory with “Wonderwall” was, simply put, magical. It wasn’t even necessary to know all the words to the song, just being part of the scarf-brandishing, hoarse group was amazing. The entire experience was unforgettable.
Dark Clouds (and True North Elite, I’ll join you guys next time), keep up the great work. You maintain the perfect atmosphere: one that encourages participation while still allowing newbies to learn the ropes. The Loons are lucky to have supporters like you.
To those who haven’t yet stood behind the goal for a match yet: do it. Even if you just spend a half singing and shouting until you’re hoarse, you’ll enjoy it. You don’t need to know all the words, or even all that much about the team. The only requirements are a willingness to try something a little different, and a passion for the boys in black and blue.