sports

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!” 

super

Six just happens to be my favorite number. It is the first perfect number: its factors’ (1,2, and 3) sum and product are both six.*

 Six is also the number of SuperBowl wins for the Steelers. I’m sure Brendan will write more about the game later (once he gets out of bed).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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* That is to say, 1+2+3 = 6 and 1*2*3 = 6.

Here we went!

Ben Roethlisberger with Vince Lombardi trophy

I eventually did get out of bed at about 8:30 and tried going back to sleep, but found it difficult, so I came downstairs and re-watched the game. This was necessary due to my condition yesterday. I wanted to make sure I saw what I thought I saw. I also realized that the DVR had been recording from 6:00 last night, so I now have 15 hours of NBC 4 recorded.

So here are my thoughts on the game.

First half:

The Steelers were dominant. They did exactly what they should. Controlled the clock, kept the Arizona offense off the field, and kept Fitzgerald to only one catch. Our defense was awesome, and the Harrison interception runback was incredible.

I didn’t see any egregious errors by the officials (although there could have been a hold called on Townsend on the runback).

The touchdown that was reversed, I felt was too close to call, so I’m not too disappointed that it wasn’t allowed.

Second half:

I guess that could have been an incomplete pass by Warner instead of a fumble. I wasn’t pleased with the call, but what are you going to do? 

The roughing the passer penalty against Arizona was suspect. They could have let it go. The hit was a hell of a lot closer than the spear Ben took in the back against the Ravens two weeks ago, and they didn’t call that.

There will probably be a lot of whining about the personal foul for running over the holder. It was a legit call, though. You just can’t do that. The outcome remained the same, though, with only a field goal, so I don’t want to hear it.

Ike Taylor probably did deserve that personal foul, but Boldin was definitely not innocent.

I’m a huge fan of James Harrison’s, and I love his intensity, but he probably could have been thrown out of the game for that. 

Parker got out of the end zone, no doubt in my mind.

I can now see how a hold could be called on the safety, but that’s the type of hold that could be called on any play during the game.  I think the difference was that they fell down.

The defense laid back in the 4th quarter. They were way too deep and allowed plays to develop over the middle. That’s how the Cardinals got everything in the 4th. The prevent defense prevents you from winning.

Holmes definitely had a touchdown. There really is no question about it. Take a good look at any replay and  you can see it. Even if it wasn’t called on the field, it would have been a touchdown on review.

Kurt Warner 100% fumbled on the one at the end of the game. If the replay official didn’t even call for a replay, then it’s pretty clear. His arm was not going forward when the ball was hit.

Overall:

The run game kept the Cardinals honest, but still couldn’t get going very well. It’s something they’ll need to work on next year. It just wasn’t where it should have been all year.

Ward did very well coming off an MCL sprain two weeks ago. He came up big when needed, as he always does.

Santonio Holmes made a name for himself last night. He came up huge in every situation. He only had one mistake, and that was the miss the play before he made his TD catch. As for the MVP, I don’t know, but the way he came up big in that last drive certainly makes the case for it.

Ben simply made plays all game long. He extended plays with his legs and didn’t make dumb decisions. The good Ben showed up, and it made all the difference.

I was a bit disappointed we couldn’t score a touchdown on 1st and goal twice during the game.

Ike Taylor did a great job on Fitzgerald. A couple of big plays, and all his work went down the drain.

There was seriously no doubt in my mind that Ben would win this game for us. I told everyone in the room that I was confident Ben could take them down the field and score. He’s done it his entire career, and did it again in the Super Bowl.

I’m also wondering if Brenda Warner is a pirate. Maybe there were some left0ver puffy shirts from that episode of Seinfeld.

What was up with the Seahawks colors on all of the Super Bowl clothing?

In summary, I’m extremely happy with this win. I’m sure some people are going to try to make it like the Steelers had help from the officials and that we should have won, but that’s garbage. The Steelers deserved to win, they dominated the entire game, and they came out with their 6th trophy. They navigated through the toughest schedule the NFL had seen in decades and came out on top. I couldn’t be more proud of my boys. 

some statistics

I am almost officially a good luck charm at Heinz field. I’m two for two. It was awesome. I could have done without some of the people around us in the crowd at times. Extra-drunk 40-something women with cow bells are not a good combination. The loudest and most annoying disappeared for a while and came back much mellower. The best moment was clearly Troy’s interception and run back. The whole stadium just went totally insane. Hugs all around. The snow just made it all very festive — like confetti. 

And I was extra-careful not to dislocate my shoulder this time. No picking up anything from under my seat, and my towel was frequently in my left hand. It was hard to swing anyway because of my arm warmer/hand warmer/thick glove combo.  Last time I learned that pregnancy will make my loose joints even looser. Yes, that’s right dear internet:  I’m pregnant. My magic uterus in Pittsburgh = Steelers victory. 

Rookies

How can a quarterback that’s in his fifth season, who just signed a $102 million contract, make such dumb mistakes? Couple that with a few lucky tips into the hands of Colts receivers, and you have a game that was given away.

Take away the dumb stuff of this game and the Giants game, and they’d only have one loss.

But they made those mistakes and now have to live with them, and with a Ravens team that is now a stone’s throw away from them, and the only thing holding them back is the tiebreaker.

And we’re right in the middle of the toughest part of the schedule.  Awesome.

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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