I walk a fine line. I am both a journalist and a fan but I am neither a cynic nor a cheerleader. I am a close observer but I am not interested in getting too close. To do so would risk forfeiting my objectivity. Thus, I choose to keep it, respectfully, at arm's length.
Maintaining balance and neutrality is sometimes easier said than done. The last few days have reminded me once again of the incredible, almost irresistible, captivating power of sport. There is no age, race, class or creed barrier dividing us - just a mass of humanity pulling in a single direction.
Thirty-six hours in Seattle coincided with one of sport's most charismatic events. While 36,000 boisterous rave green clad soccer fans descended on Qwest Field to watch their playoff bound Sounders outclass Toronto FC, tens of thousands more were getting wet in Wales.
Sleepless in Seattle
I was literally sleepless in Seattle for a reason. A day of travel and a three-hour time difference has the inevitable effect on one's internal body clock. Consequently I was wide awake by 5 a.m. on Saturday with no chance of recapturing the lost hours.
Lying in the darkness, cursing my ill fortune, I was grabbed by a sense of urgency. By-passing the just five more minutes choice, it was suddenly a race against time. Find the remote and get the television on! It's Ryder Cup weekend, stupid!
I frantically searched for a channel while doing some mental arithmetic. Wales is 5 hours ahead of Eastern time; Eastern time is three hours ahead of Pacific time. OK, I'm eight hours behind. 5 a.m. - Seattle equals 2 p.m. in Wales. Saturday's marathon should be in full swing after Friday's near washout.
I wanted to know. I wanted to be entertained, but chiefly I wanted, from the privacy of my hotel room, to be a fan. I wanted to be partisan - to cheer every successful pin-peppering European approach; to fist pump every disappearing European putt.
And to whisper, so only I could hear, "Miss!" to every Tiger chip, Bubba bomb and Lefty putt. After all I'm pulling for Europe in an American hotel room. Offending my hosts would be crass and disrespectful, so let's try and keep this somewhat dignified.
It wasn't a day to be spent alone. From the herds of golf fans on a muddy Welsh hillside to the biggest, noisiest crowd in Major League Soccer, these were events that mattered. They mattered because the people demanded they did.
Though separated by thousands of miles (and umpteen time zones) every last one of them was emotionally joined at the hip. This went beyond mere pride and passion. It bordered on obsession which simply fed the frenzied atmosphere.
It wasn't always like this. Less than two years ago Seattle was a second tier soccer city competing in the United Soccer Leagues, playing in a tiny out of town stadium with a capacity of less than five thousand. The fan base was always there, but not for a minor league version of the game.
For decades The Ryder Cup was a non-event. The vast crowds were unimaginable until GB & Ireland morphed into a pan-European composite. The gentile rivalry was transformed into a Trans Atlantic battle for supremacy with more than a touch of xenophobia thrown in for good measure.
It may not be classy but it certainly is riveting. Great drama played out in front of a live cast of thousands all of whom are responsible for making it what it is. The fans have found time and money for the Ryder Cup and the Seattle Sounders. Because of them, they are important.
Women's World Cup around the corner
Very soon we need to make Canada matter. In just over three weeks time, the Canadian women's team will attempt to qualify for next year's World Cup in Germany. This is a rare event - the cycle occurs once every four years.
Are we, as Canadians, ready to play our part? Are we prepared to invest time and energy supporting their effort? These players are representing this nation and they are proud to do so. There's a good chance the team will be successful but what is success if no-one cares?
It took many years for the Seattle Sounders and the Ryder Cup to evolve into what they are today. Neither can be considered an overnight success but both found a formula to invigorate the patrons and keep them engaged.
It would be naive to expect Canada to come to an Olympic hockey style standstill for the sake of women's soccer. Even for diehard soccer fans, the women's game is hardly a must see spectacle.
But, at the risk of becoming a journalistic cheerleader, bear this in mind. Team Canada only matters if we make it matter.
Do you have improvements to suggest for this page?