This is our story.....
In 1997 an English sports fan (Richard) married an American, (Jenn) who hated sports.
After spending our first year of marriage in England we decided to move back to Jenn's home country and State of Texas, just south of Houston. During this time the 1998 World Cup was going on and Jenn watched and got caught up in the event (and especially Michael Owen!!).
Our journey continued with a move to the San Fransisco Bay Area. Jenn started to watch more soccer and at one point said she would love to go to a live game. So, after some research we discover Major League Soccer had a team, the San Jose Earthquakes, only 80 miles away so we decided to go. July 15th 2000 we went to Spartan Stadium in San Jose to watch the Earthquakes lose 2-1 to the Colorado rapids. It was not a good game, by a poor team, but, the passion of the small group of fans has us interested. We followed the Earthquakes the rest of the season and decided to go once more to the last home game against Columbus Crew. The Quakes won 3-0 in a horrendous downpour. We were hooked. As Jenn said, who would have ever imagined her sitting outside in a downpour, never mind watching a sporting event. We were Quakes fans.
In 2001 we really took off going to all, but two, of the home games. A team revitalized by Frank Yallop and Dominic Kinear, bringing in veterans like Jeff Agoos and Ronnie Ekelund, with the exciting young talent of Landon Donovan. It was spectacular and fun. Towards the end of the season we were on the move again, this time to Raleigh, NC. The Quakes were in the play-offs with a chance to win the conference with one more home game left before we hit the road. Then the world stopped. September 11th happened and the regular season ended. We followed the play-offs on the road and from Raleigh...win after win. The semi-final, right at the end Troy scores a header against Miami and the Quakes are in the final....against... the "evil empire" themselves the Galaxy. Another road trip was called for ND we traveled up to Crew Stadium for the game. LA scored, then Donovan equalized taking us into sudden death extra time. De Rosario gets the ball in the box and fires past Hartman. Goal!! The Quakes win!! In all my years as a soccer fan this was my first ever championship to celebrate. There was no doubt we were Quakes fans no matter where we lived.
Watching from afar, screaming at the TV for countess hours through the amazing run to the 2003 Championship and the 2005 supporters shield, we enjoyed one of the greatest MLS teams ever.
Then it all ended. One day in December the team folded and was moved. We were devastated. I couldn't believe it was possible to be this upset at a sporting situation. I was done with MLS.
However, the team was moving to Houston, Jenn's home City. Her team, now in her City. For her the upset turned around. We watched as the team won two more Championships, representing their new town. Jenn a fan, me, supporting the players and happy that she was happy and rejoicing with her, but still with an empty feeling.
2008 the impossible happened. The Quakes are re-born with name, trophies are records in place. Two stars above the crest!! What happens now? I stay blue, I cannot do anything else. Jenn stays orange with her home town team, claiming they are still the "true Quakes" and she's their longest standing fan. A rivalry is born. Peace is shattered and arguments ensue. We shout for the others team and are happy and sad with them (much to the chagrin of Quakes and Dynamo fans, I am sure) as the results go. But a line in the sand is drawn when the two meet.
In 2011 our travels bought us back to Texas and Houston so we got Season Tickets for the Dynamo and go to every game. All is peaceful until the Quakes come to town or Houston go West!!!!
Tuesday the fight continues. The first game since as Jenn says "we" stole "her" coach. I argue that "we" were just stealing him back. Peace is shattered at least for a few days.
This is our story. This will be an occasional blog about sport, and not just these two teams. Throughout the years of travel we (yes, even Jenn) have became fans and followers of other teams that have special meaning. For us, though, MLS is what we started together, do together, love together and yes, even argue about together. Perhaps on Tuesday we won't feel it, but we are so lucky that as a married couple we can share this together.