HOW TO IDENTIFY—AND BE!—A HARDCORE FAN
Hardcore Fans represent a specialized subspecies of the Sounders’ soccer-mad followers, unique in their fanatical devotion to the club. (They sing! A lot!) Common fans may aspire to achieve that distinction, but only by demonstrating the following five characteristics of Hardcore Fandom at all times. It’s a commitment that should not be taken lightly.
Frequent, lengthy trips to the concession stand thin the crowd and dampen noise production. Though not immune to the seductive powers of beer and nachos, the Hardcore Fan believes that a full section is vastly more important than a full belly. [Note: Halftime snack procurement is acceptable.]
In direct contrast to their fierce, sometimes aggressive demeanor, Hardcore Fans are also distinctive for their carefully orchestrated bouts of singing; an inability to carry a tune does not preclude admission to the chorus. Such outbursts must be delivered while standing and typically show support for the home team. They can, however, be employed to mock the opposing team. [See also: Territorial Instincts.]
Symbols of Affiliation
Homemade flags, banners, and various forms of signage [ also known as tifo, pronounced “TEE-fo” ] are commonly displayed in the stadium by the Hardcore Fan and may suggest a propensity for arts and crafts. These physical representations of support for the team are personal to the creator and can carry either humorous or proud messages—with varying degrees of scatological references. [Note: Per Qwest Field rules, only those formally identified as Hardcore Fans will be allowed to enter the stadium with flag poles longer than three and a half feet.]
Opposing players and referees are unwelcome in the Hardcore Fan’s domain and are treated accordingly. Tactics for creating an environment hostile to rivals include taunting, derisive singing, and the brandishing of malicious tifo. [Note: These actions must be carried out in unison by large groups of Hardcore Fans for maximum effectiveness; rogue actions by single persons will be dismissed by opposing players as the ravings of common fans.]
In deference to the team, which enjoys the highest position in the soccer pecking order, the Hardcore Fan shuns garish clothing and attention-seeking accessories (e.g., superhero costumes, face paint, mohawks). Jerseys are acceptable attire, but only as a demonstration of unity; excessive expressions of individuality that threaten to steal the spotlight from the team are anathema to the Hardcore Fan aesthetic.