Not All Soccer Stars Are Found On The Pitch

We paid tribute to our friend, Ross Fletcher, broadcast voice of Seattle Sounders FC

October 26, 2015

This job I work, with the strange hours and odd tasks, affords me opportunities to do incredible things - doors are opened, strangers become less strange. I try to never take the opportunities I've earned for granted. I try to build relationships with all the people I meet, and those who only know me as that stuffy sounding voice on the radio, I try to connect with to make it more personal. I work with the strangest of weirdos, incredible each in their own way - usually a throwaway sentiment to acknowledge your peers as the best peers one man could have, but radio is peculiar like that. It takes complicated facets to make something sparkle.

I've had the opportunity to speak with some of the world's greatest musicians - men and women who could command small armies were their fans ever to assemble - and those conversations often take on rewarding journies of their own, but it's people in my own industry that I find most fascinating. One particular partnership means more to me than almost any in my career. Two years ago, after a passing meeting in the hallways of The End, an idea to include Seattle Sounders FC on our station took root.

Many phone calls and emails traded hands until finally, minutes before cracking the mic, I met Ross Fletcher for the first time. My excitement like that felt before a second date with someone you like. You see, for two seasons I had listened to him call matches and felt like I knew him already - our first date completed over those years.

Pals, Ross Fletcher and Gregr

After our little soccer chat, I remember running down the hall to an office and stammering on about Ross to my friend and coworker, Pepper - she likely gave me the equivalent of a verbal eye-roll because she's the best. I've always felt much more of connection and fondness to the other people in our own community, the ones that shape the things we hear and feel as we navigate our bizarre little lives. This silly-hearted continued a few more weeks until Ross and I became colleagues and eventually friends - me drinking from a Cano mug, him saying British things to get me to smile a little larger.

On a Thursday evening, I received a phone call from Ross, his wife and child filling the call with extra voices. He chimed me the night before news broke, stunning news.

My friend wouldn't be returning for a fifth season.

I'm still waiting for that line to sink in. 

Among the many incredible people surrounding me, my friend, artist, and screen-printing-pro, Kool Keith (@methoddesigns) prints a majority of the coolest work in Seattle - from that Deck the Hall Ball shirt you can buy in December to the Seattle SuperSounders cape shirts we wore last season:

The Seattle SuperSounders

We had been planning to do something fun to give Ross a hard time from our seats for the better part of the 2015 season, but finally, our hand forced, we would deliver at the final televised game. To take things even further, my pal and I decided to take things bigger - literally. We blew up a portrait of Ross so we could hold his giant head above the crowd at CenturyLink field. Printing, gluing, cutting, and fun: all part of a proper fan experience.

Making a tribute: printout

Making a tribute: glueing

Making a tribute: cutting.

Making a tribute: final product!

Thanks to Dan Poss (@PossPhotography) for providing a beautiful, high-resolution photograph to make this thing. Here's how it looked on JoeTV later the next day:

When Ross saw us from the booth.

Our big head made it on JoeTV!

The love and cheers from people around the stadium, the Emerald City Supporters, the loud gruffy voiced guy that sits a couple rows behind us, made me realize just how much the culture of soccer in Seattle grew to love Ross over the years. His departure surely will leave us all missing our friendly British voice with the incredible vocabulary. Not all the stars play the game on the field - sometimes, they're the ones that unite us in anticipation as they weave us into the narrative of the event.

Cheers to my friend, Ross, his family, and the next set of ears and eyes that are lucky enough to have him as their beloved verbal wizard casting soccer spells upon them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And since you read this far, here's a blurry, shirtless photo of Brad Evans that I sent to my fiance :)

Blurry Brad Evans