soccer

golden

Last Sunday, Brendan and I and some friends went to the Gold Cup matches at RFK. First was USA vs Jamaica; second was El Salvador vs Panama. We had some seriously awesome seats. Row 9. Between midfield and the 18. 

We planned to arrive at Lot 8 at about noon to tailgate, pickup our tickets and relax prior to the 3pm start. By the time we got to the entrance from 395, the police had blocked it off. That meant we had to cross the river, take 295, cross back over the river, go in the Benning Road entrance, call my brother who has experience getting to Lot 8 from Maryland (for DC United matches), go around RFK and finally make it to Lot 8 (it’s the best for tailgating). 

The party was in full gear. 

Tickets were sold out, and of the 45,000 fans that filled RFK, the vast majority – it felt like 40,000 – were Salvadoran fans. They know how to have a good time. It was a sea of blue. After grilling and hanging out we made our way into the stadium and to our (did I mention they were awesome) seats.

We’ve been to a lot of matches, but I think it was the closest we have been. It was a really great time. A lot of cheering and yelling and bouncing. At half time, Brendan went to get some beverages and came back with a photo of himself and Stu Holden. JEALOUS! 

It was really great to see the US put in such a quality (and hard) effort for the full 90 minutes. 

We were having so much fun, we decided to stick around for part of the second match. As a good portion of US fans departed the lower bowl, Salvadoran fans filled in. The stadium erupted as they sang their national anthem. It was really moving. 

In the end, we stayed for most of the first half, but decided that we should leave early as it’d be a crazy scene either way. If El Salvador won it’d be jubilant and if they lost (as it turned out they did lose in PKs) still a crush. 

As we drove down the access road to 395, it became clear as to why they had closed the entrance. There were cars parked along the sides everywhere, and in every direction. Clearly, had we stayed, it would have been quite a mess trying to get out. We made it home in time to watch extra time and the penalty kicks. 

Needless to say, it was awesome. (Salvadorans know how to party!)

bzzzzzz

Bridget had her first (two!) soccer “matches” this weekend.  It was a lot of fun. 

Before the second game, I told her that I wanted her to concentrate on dribbling with the ball if she got it. In the first game, it came to her and she just sort of stood there. When she did find herself with the ball in the second game, she did run with it –though more sideways than forward. 

Brendan’s coaching them and they’ve named the team The Bees. It’s adorable. He huddles them up before the game, goes through their rules (1. No hitting hands 2. Have fun 3. Don’t steal the ball from your own team) and then they put their hands in and all go “BZZZZZ!” 

photos and more on soccer


Photos of Bridget from this month are up.


And so are photos from USA vs. Cuba. The guy pictured above was so completely drunk the entire match. We weren’t sure if he was going to make it.


And I totally missed the action shot on this one, but the dude in the red Hawaiian shirt had altered the DONOVAN star to also say "is a WANKER" on one side and "and a Pussy" on the other. The guy in the American flag bandanna (along with some others from NJ or NY) didn’t think it was very funny. DC United fans are not generally fond of Landon.

And here is some video extracted from our DVR of Brendan, Jeannine, and John (AND NOT ME) on ESPN. Look for them in the top right corner when you see the ALTIDORE star.

Eventful

The babysitter worked out wonderfully. We had a great time at the match. Six U.S. goals. A patriotic display. Brendan was even on TV! He’s got video extracted from it, I’m sure he’ll post it at some point. Bridget thinks it’s hilarious that her dad was on TV (because we’re dorks and DVR-ed the game even though we were there).

***

Then, today we decided it was too nice to stay inside, so we went to a park down the road a bit. On the way home, Brendan noticed a boy walking down a pretty busy road alone, and so, we decided to stop, turn around and see what the deal was. He was pretty scared and just wanted his mom, and was about 3. Oh, and he crossed the street on his own, too (it’s a four lane road). So I tried to converse with him in Spanish, and Brendan called the police. Four cops later, we had finally understood what his name was, they took his photo with a digital camera and went down the road to where we first noticed him and came back with some of his family. I was a little worried that they wouldn’t want to talk to the police but thankfully everything seemed to work out. He was with his grandfather, uncle and brother and lived all the way in Stafford. No wonder he was so confused and scared. Bridget totally understood that the little boy was lost and we helped him find his family. It all ended well.

***

And then, just now, three police cars rolled up to the house next door. There have been people over there working lately — mowing the grass, painting, running power tools out back. As far as I’m concerned, as long as someone is actively caring for the property, it’s a good thing. Brendan said that he heard some beeping while he was out grilling, so it’s probably just an alarm going off. Again, it’s all a good thing. There just hasn’t really been too many quiet moment here at home today.

happy

Brendan has his Ben, and I have mine. My Ben was the theme for my birthday presents this year: a jersey and an offical autographed card. Now we just have to start going to matches again. Although, once Bridget gets older we’ll have to move from the "fun side" of the stadium (near the fan clubs) to the family side. If Bridget ever decides that she wants to play soccer, I don’t want her chanting "F$%# YOU REF!" When she’s upset over a call.

Disclaimer.

Brendan joined the party on January 2, 2004. He's cool now.

Jessica has never been cool. She is OK with that.

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