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Last published at August 5, 2009 at 11:59 PM

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Seattle Sketcher

Barça and Sounders make Seattle feel like home

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It's been so long since I went to my last Barça game: almost ten years! I watched them defeat Italian team Fiorentina 4 to 2 in a qualifying UEFA Champions League match on Sept. 22, 1999. My American girlfriend at the time, now wife, and I sat in one of the rows farthest from the field in the huge Camp Nou stadium. I could barely see the players, let alone sketch them.

Things were quite different for me on today's game. I was much closer to the field, right behind one of the goals in fact, as part of the media. But a lot felt the same way.

Stepping on the light rail to go to the stadium was like taking the subway in Barcelona. The crowd wearing soccer jerseys and the roar of the Sounder fans, cheering their team for the entire 90 minutes of play, was like going to any game in Barcelona. What a great experience, here, in Seattle.

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Drawing at the game was a new thing for me though. For a moment I thought I should be in the bleachers. But then I heard someone yell from behind: "Hey, sketcher!" Big Lo, aka Seattle's biggest sport fan, told me how much he liked my work. I was flattered. If Big Lo says so, maybe it doesn't hurt to let a sketcher in the game every now and then. "When are you going to sketch the Seahawks?" he asked. I'm ready to mark my calendar.

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I bought one of the half-Barça, half-Sounders scarves many people were wearing today as soon as I arrived at the stadium. I couldn't have imagined anything better for this Barcelonian transplanted to Seattle. Ryan Sales was also wearing one. "I'd like to see Messi score and the Sounders win," he said after having someone take his photo in front of the giant inflatable soccer ball set up next to Qwest Field.

Sales got half of his wish and I got mine, seeing Barça win and adding a new team to my scarf. Go Sounders!

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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