For the past two hours, I’ve been glued to my Twitter feed. It’s not some high-speed car chase; catastrophic natural disaster or big-time political scandal that grabbed my attention.
It’s Clint Dempsey — the best American soccer player in the game right now.
You see, a rumor spread Thursday afternoon that the U.S. Men’s National Team captain and Tottenham Hotspur goal scorer was spotted at the San Francisco airport, possibly boarding a plane for Seattle.
That followed a Tweet from Fox Soccer host Keith Costigan earlier on Thursday that the Sounders were interested in the attacking midfielder, one of the few American players who can instill real fear in opposing defenses.
The club interested in bringing Dempsey back to MLS is Seattle
— keith costigan (@KeithCostigan) August 1, 2013
And then came this Tweet from a fella from Seattle who said that Dempsey was boarding his flight to Seattle, but later said he went to another gate.
— Jorge (@MrJorgePerea) August 2, 2013
Twitter went wild, especially in soccer mad Seattle. Thousands of Tweets poured in, and the hash tag #DempseyWatch emerged, becoming a trending topic on Twitter throughout Thursday evening and early Friday morning. It almost turned into a case of digital stalking, and personally I couldn’t turn away from it, nor could many others even though facts were few and far between.
The funny thing about it all is that no one really knew anything, so it became a classic case of “Waiting for Guffman” combined with a “Where’s Waldo” puzzle. More Tweets flowed, and I still couldn’t turn away, even though nothing was being said. (A Seinfeld episode?). It also reminded me of the time that my coffee-starved colleague Todd Bishop traveled down to the Space Needle for an Angry Birds promotion that really never took off, a story that captivated the city as folks awaited some big show that never materialized.
So, here, I am at 1:30 a.m., unable to get to sleep, and tracking some completely inane rumor mill. And it’s the most fun I’ve had on Twitter in some time. Odd…
What made this case even more bizarre for a soccer fan like me is that the news broke on Thursday at about the same time we happened to be interviewing Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer for our weekly podcast/radio show at the KIRO studios in the Eastlake neighborhood of Seattle. (Hanauer, who doesn’t have a Twitter account himself, hinted on the show that the team might make some very big moves before the transfer window closes on August 7th).
Meanwhile, soccer fans are left wondering: Where in the world is Clint Dempsey?
I have never lost sleep before wondering where an athlete might be. Interesting feeling. #DempseyWatch
— Chad Harris (@i_am_333) August 2, 2013
#DempseyWatch is better than the Mariners game today, but at least the M's game had closure…
— Occidental Problems (@Occidental_Prob) August 2, 2013