Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Family and footy
Four years ago, my brother and I began what we hoped would become a little tradition of bridging the two thousand miles between us and getting together to enjoy the World Cup. In June 2006, he flew out here and we made our way around to various establishments, watching two or three games a day for a week, and gorging on beers, ice cream and "Vindaloo." Unfortunately, the United States was crap, letting in three goals inside of twenty minutes in the opener and going on to finish last in their group.
How much better things went this time round! First, Scott brought along our dad, and second, there's a Kelley now. The four of us met up in San Francisco, and although I was frustratingly sick the whole time (shivering-cold in 80-degree weather?!), we had a blast, taking in the California Academy of Sciences, a Giants game—and the soccer. The highlight, of course, was the U.S.-England match. We'd been anxiously anticipating this one since the draw in December, and on the day we settled in at Mad Dog in the Fog a good five hours early, around 6:30am. The place was packed, of course, and fairly evenly split between American and England supporters, though the latter group had a clear edge in songs. The match itself got off to the worst possible start, England scoring in the first five minutes. But we hung in and eventually drew level thanks to Robert Green's blunder. From there it was squeaky-bum time indeed, but we got the point and celebrated—and some of us got "overserved." There was plenty more to the weekend—hanging out with our friend Shelby, meeting a lovably racist (?) old-man bartender, enjoying cream puffs made (we all hope) with love—but let it suffice to say I hope we can do it again in 2014.
That all was a week ago, and since then the U.S. team and its fans have been on quite a ride, with a furious comeback from two goals down before a disallowed winner, and this morning ninety minutes of agony (not to mention another curious call) before stoppage-time ecstasy courtesy of Landon Donovan. With that, the Americans have won the group and are through to the knockout stage. Who knows where this will end, but no matter what, we'll have had a hell of a time* getting there.
You can find more pictures of our entire visit here.
* Though not nearly as hell-of-a-time as our friends the Grandpeases and TBall, who've actually been in South Africa for all this. Do read their stories here.
I used to sit in the cube behind you. Then I didn't. And then we fell in love.
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