Wow. In my life I've been to dozens of Blue Jays games, dozens of Maple Leafs games and dozens of Raptors games. I've been to Marlies games, Argo games and WWF cards. I've been to all of these live events in this city, but I've never experienced what I experienced this afternoon at BMO Field.
For over 90 minutes of play, everyone was on their feet singing, chanting, dancing, stomping and cheering. It was as if everybody was reading from the same handbook. When the players are introduced, the public address announcer just says the Toronto FC player's first name and we all yell their last name. At the 23-minute mark, we all sang a song for Danny Dichio, because he scored the franchise's first ever goal at the 23-minute mark. There were lots of customs and practices to obey.
The songs were awesome. There were songs for certain players, such as the spin on "Hey Jude" for Maurice Edu or the call and response between sections for Marco Velez. There were anti-Galaxy songs, such as the super catchy "F*ck Galaxy" and love songs for Toronto. There was a song to start things off, a chant to remind the opposition "this is our home", anti-Beckham songs and even "Seven Nation Army". My favourite songs were the anti-ref songs which we sang whenever a call went against us. There was even this French question we'd ask the section across the field and then they'd answer and we'd both do this dance. That one is tough to explain... but super fun.
In addition to the singing, chanting and dancing, there was also a soccer game. I was worried it would be a boring 0-0 game, but I actually got to see two Toronto FC goals and at least six other solid scoring chances. I was stunned by how dominant we were and how much offence there was. It could easily have been 5-0 for the good guys.
Thanks for the ticket, Elvis. I'm seriously starting to think I was wrong about this franchise. I didn't think a professional soccer team would make it in this city, but today I witnessed 20 thousand young, enthusiastic fans treat the event with all the ritualistic fervent of a religious gathering. This was their church, and there was no sign of impending apathy.
Here are dozens of photos I took this afternoon during my very first Toronto FC game as we beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0.