A few weeks back, The Lost Ogle sent me, despite having no journalism degree or knowledge of sports, to watch and write about the Energy FC’s home match against the Portland Timbers, on a cold and beer-fueled evening at Taft Stadium.*
Fortunately, I wasn’t there to cover the game. Instead, I was asked to observe the shenanigans and chaos of The 46 – the group of hardcore fans who stand behind the opposing team’s goal, and over the beats of drums and through the haze of green smoke bombs, relentlessly support their team and mercilessly mock their opponent.
The 46 is composed of the following four supporter groups:
The Grid: The original and largest supporter group of Energy FC. Known for their insults and heckling chants, they actually cleaned up their act to PG-13 levels – in line with the Green Creed, which reminds everyone to play nice and keep the OKC Standard. Think of it like how you’ve matured since your MySpace days. As a member, you get hella tight membership scarves and the chance to personally set off a series of smoke bombs that are one windy day away from a wild story complete with beer, friends, and a possible arson conviction.
The Main Street Greens: LGBTQA+ affirming group known as much for their rainbow capes as they are for their psychological warfare.
Furia Verde: Defined by face paint, base drums, and intimidation. Louis talked about them last season. I only know enough Spanish to find a bathroom or cuss out a library, but even I know that the content of their chants was brutal.
Northend United: Northend United prides itself on being a leaderless group with the sole goal of staying with the team until the end of the match. Being that concession stops serving beer 20 minutes before the game ends, that’s dedication.
Since the extent of my soccer knowledge and experience is derived from my 8 months on the Elk City Clouds 12-and-under youth team back in 2002, I called Colin of Northend United the day before the game to ask him what to expect as a new member of The 46. I was told there would be chugging, chanting, fighting, drinking, and smoke bombing. I participated in 4 of these 5 activities and probably have at least 3 new twitter followers who could vouch for me on that.
When I arrived, the first thing I noticed about The 46 is how close you get to the action. They are located directly behind a goal and next to the opposing teams’ warm up area. That means you get smoked in the face with the ball, which is something I saw at least 4 times throughout the night. I guess it’s a common occurrence. I asked several people if they had ever been hit in the face with the ball and they nodded, smiled, and told me how great it is. Ernie from The Grid was one of those people.
“There is one guy who still chants, ‘piece of shit,’ whenever the refs make a bad call,” Ernie pointed out to me shortly after the match began. “And whenever he isn’t at a game, there is always another guy who steps up to take his place. But there is always one ‘piece of shit’ guy.”
I never got to meet the “piece of shit” guy. But whoever you are, sir, you’re an inspiration to the masses.
Along with learning the art of psychological warfare, the game itself was fun. Players ran around on a field and kicked a ball. The other team scored a bunch and we didn’t. Despite it all, the 46 still did their thing.
I spent a good chunk of the second half with Martin from Furia Verde. He taught me how to dodge flying soccer balls and not lose my beer or consciousness. For what it’s worth, Furia verde takes their face-painting seriously. They had a sweet ass drum set up.
Overall, my experience with the 46 was a blast. Even if for the first 15 minutes of the game I had the uniform colors mixed up, which led to some lonely cheering. It was a great experience, filled with beer, chants I probably can’t repeat in this article, and comradery I haven’t felt since my student section days. It’s pretty amazing that a group of people from such diverse walks of life have come together to form this group of die-hard soccer enthusiasts. I showed up to the match alone, but spent 90 minutes feeling like I was meeting up with old buddies.
You can see the Energy is grateful for the passionate support. As the cold night wore on, the concessions stopped serving beer, and Portland stalled the game towards the end of the second half, the fans of The 46 remained – full of rainbow capes, bass drums, and psychological warfare until the very end.
Want to become part of the 46? Go to The Grid’s website here. Or you can just buy the cheap seats and show up to a game. The Grid, Main Street Greens, Northend United, and Furia Verde are probably still there putting out their smoke bomb fire.
*This piece is part of a branded-content partnership with Energy FC and The Lost Ogle.