By Carlos Bayne

Clad in Sounders gear, I arrived with my dad and sister to Northgate Park and Ride early.  On my shoulder, Angel Carlos says, "Ok, now be a good boy. Don't overindulge in drinking, be polite, be humble, and keep to yourself..." The Devil Carlos throat punches him and kicks him off. "Yeah right! Drink like a bastard, be loud and proud and I might think about keeping you from being injured, maimed, mugged, or killed!"

GAME ON!!  I punch the air for dramatic flair.

We scan the parking lot to figure out which bus will have a keg of beer to supplement our 6 pack of Fremont Summer Ale. We are giddy as school children as we board the Rosales #10 bus, a player we have created a drinking game to go along with his on field play.

The bus started rolling down the highway and in a hot minute we realized ALL THE BUSES HAVE KEGS, we’re in trouble! But then I see my new friends have a cooler of margarita mix. And Jell-O shots.  And strawberry moonshine.  And now we’re going to eat the strawberries that have been soaking in the moonshine?  Someone started passing food around and sharing it amongst our fellow passengers.  More No Equal in my red Solo cup and someone points out that I need a shot of Jameson in that. WTF, poured from a Cuervo bottle that's crossed out with a Sharpie? Oh my god, this is hilarious. More food: cupcakes then Salvadorian bites.  Meeting new people, making new friends, trying new things and having a good time, this is everything I’d imagined and so much more!

We stop at a rest stop and there's a mass exodus for the door. The ECS gathers its troops around the kegs for inverted drinking!! Well... I’ve never done a keg stand in my life, but this is a trip of firsts so next think I know I'm hanging upside down wondering how I do this? F it. I'll figure it out or drown trying. I draw my brew, and more brew and more. Finally, I couldn't hold myself anymore much less drink. I gracefully dismount my trusty keg and stand on my feet triumphantly. I raise my arms, WIN FOR ME! The crowd applauds the performance. Where's my family?  Did anyone get photos of that epic life milestone?

The ECS has managed to corral us drunken idiots onto buses not only once, but twice.  Our bus captains tells us that if you aren't here, raise your hand.  No one does, so we resume our northbound journey with more singing, drinking, and music.

The ECS customs negotiation experts facilitate all the buses clearing customs with no issue and we arrive at BC Place without incident.  After gathering in a plaza to collect our tickets, we marched into BC Place in full force without any issues. I tip my cap to the ECS travel monkeys.

Then the match is finally here! We came to drink, we came to sing, whoa, whoa... Whitecaps score almost immediately. C'mon Seattle!  FIGHT AND WIN!  We get to know our neighbors, who have now become our drinking buddies and the drum leads us in an endless pogo.

Beyond half time Whitecaps score again, 2-0. Doesn't seem to diminish the spirit or the singing of the ECS. I love these guys, but I hope they realize there is a match going on. I dig deep and with our tireless mentality, we will show Vancouver we can rock this for the full 90 minutes!  The scoreline doesn’t change in our favor but the atmosphere is relentless. 

After a disappointing loss we trudge back onto the bus, the energy of the ride up is nowhere to be found.  Exhausted from a full 90, an angel of mercy gave my sister and I some Advil and I passed out, waking up only when we had pull in to the Northgate P&R some 12 hours later.  

If I wasn't a Sounders FC fan or ECS fan before the trip, I definitely am now! The feeling of community, warmth and concern was outright, which I can say is something I've searching for quite some time.  Some of my new ECS family that were on the bus reached out the next day to check in and see if I had recovered from my hangover. Thankfully my migraine had subsided and one of my new friends told me about our next trip, "If you thought that was epic, you should be on the bus to Portland to chop some Timbers!"  I wouldn’t miss it, and maybe I’ll bring the moonshine blackberries!

Eternally grateful,

Carlos Bayne