It's 7:05 on a chilly Sunday morning, and even good Christians are in bed. But hundreds of cars are lining up at Gallery Furniture, ready for the Dynamo Convoy that's headed to Frisco, TX for the MLS Cup game. "They started showing up at 5:45 this morning," says Nancy, a volunteer with the Dynamo, her cheeks bright red from the cold. At the entrance of Mattress Mac's store, she and her crew stop cars and hand t-shirts to passengers.
Decked out in Dynamo orange straight down to orange jester hat and orange shoelaces, Eli got here at 6 a.m. with Kelli, a season-ticket holder, and Amanda. He recites his list for the roadie up to Dallas as he touches up his face paint, using his car window as a mirror: "Beer, rum, confetti, paint, more paint, noisemakers beer...oh, and some chips, just in case."
Kelli's impressed that Mattress Mac is picking up the cost of parking at Frisco's Pizza Hut Park. But she's especially psyched about the tailgating party there. "He's paying for all that, too," she says. "That can't be cheap." Indeed not, and Eli's not gonna waste any time. "I got up at 5 a.m., we're leaving here at 7:30 and getting there at 11:30 a.m. We're gonna party all day, baby."
He's interrupted by horns, as the drivers break out in spontaneous honking. It starts out as cacophonous, but soon breaks into a "beep-beep-beep, beep-beep" rhythm. Yelling through a bullhorn at the front of the parking lot, Darrell Luckett, promotion director for Gallery Furniture (and "father or Destiny Child's LaToya," he tells me) hypes up the crowd of folks sitting in their parked cars. Then he leads them in a prayer: "Keep us safe on this trip to Dallas, o Lord. We ask this in Jesus's name. Now...EVERYBODY MAKES SOME NOISE!!" People scream and slam on their horns. A little kid standing out of the sunroof of his parents' car, nearly explodes. Luckett is amazing: Joel Osteen couldn't get people this crazy on a Sunday morning.
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Then the line of convoy buses passes by the store on the feeder. It's time for the cars to join them. Luckett takes a deep breath and bellows through his bullhorn: "Start your engiiiiiinnnnes! Drive safely!" A news chopper flies overhead, and folks howl and honk their horns again. "Make some noise, Dynamo fans!" he yells. One by one, 300 cars slowly make their way through the parking lot and onto the 45 North feeder road. The procession is surprisingly orderly. Folks beep and wave their banners in cars that are smeared with white shoe polish messages and orange flags.
Luckett looks on at the line of cars in amazement. * "Man, people are gonna think Mac died," he says with a laugh. Nancy and her crew shove down some leftover donuts (they were provided for the fans), and break for the trip. "See you in Dallas," she says to them. Luckettt hypes up the crowd, giving it is all while he stands in the back of a pickup truck. He waves his bullhorn and shouts. As the last of the cars rolls out, Mattress Mac's first officer of hype slouches to his knees and catches his breath.
"Man," he says with a gasp, "they better win, godammit." -- Steven Devadanam
*Quote of the day