There has been a lot that I have wanted to write about. I honestly just have not made the time to blog.
With all the division taking place in the US, it was great to finally be able to “come together” and get on one accord for a change. Huge thank you to the US Women’s National Soccer Team. If you missed it, the ladies brought the World Cup Championship back home.
For weeks, the news has been full of talk about the murder of nine innocent, black men and women in Charleston, what the Confederate Flag does and doesn’t stand for and debates over same-sex marriage. I have my opinions on all three topics and do not mind sharing them. However, I will write about them if and when the urge comes.
Well I did not really expect this. I am not a huge soccer fan. I cannot even really say I am a fan of the sport. I watch very rarely. And I understand very little. I have had being offsides explained to me but I need to be able to identify the defenders on the field to know who is offside. And it would be helpful if they put a yellow lines on the field, you know like in football, so I can identify the mystery box the person needs to pass before the defender does. And with that, I just confused myself again. Sorry CJ.
Tuesday was stressful. I cannot remember the last time a soccer match had me on the edge of my seat, with my heart pounding. The fact that I cannot remember makes me think it has never happened before Tuesday. Here I was, at a program for a client, working. Laptop open. Email open. Soccer on my phone. World Cup soccer. USA vs. Belgium. In Spanish. And no I am not fluent in Spanish. However, those that know me know that I will not let anything stop me from being tuned in live to a sporting event that is of interest to me. By any means necessary.
When I figured out last week that I would be working during USA vs. Germany match, I started on my quest to find a resource that would allow me to watch the game on my phone. The obvious solution was to view via the Watch ESPN app. Unfortunately, ESPN does not allow my cable provider access via the internet. That cancelled the option of using http://www.espn3.com as well. So where did I turn? Social media! I knew my boy Leonard would be able to provide options. Butter rum, he provided me with a link to a site that looked more like a virus than a website. I passed. Butter rum, thanks for trying L! Haha. Then in strolls Jeremy with the Univision Deportes suggestion. My question, “Will that be in Spanish?” “Strong possibility, unfortunately,” he said. Not what I am looking for. I will have no clue what is going on. I am already mostly clueless when it comes to the rules of the game. All I will be able to comprehend if I watch on Univision is the word goal. My search continued.
Soon it was game time and I had no other options, Univision Deportes it was. I downloaded the app and put my earbuds in. And then it happened, surprisingly the fact that I could not understand what the announcers were saying was exactly what drew me to into the action. Their level of excitement was contagious. I found myself looking excitedly at my computer every time their voice fluctuated, especially if I could hear the level of excitement in their voice. I also found myself chuckling on occassion as a result. It was entertaining!
So back to Tuesday. I am at the program. Tuned in, once again to Univision and loving it. I have no clue if I was listening to the same announcers but they had me hooked when I heard the names Michael and the Jackson 5 mentioned about five minutes apart. I am sure you just had the same reaction that I did. Some time later, I heard what is arguably the greatest line I have heard during a soccer game, “Ryan Seacrest is in the hoooouse!” I have not done my research to see if he was actually there nor do I care. To hear that phrase sandwiched in between a bunch of words I did not understand was priceless.
Heart pounding. That is what was happening the final 10 minutes of regulation. When it became clear that there would be extra minutes, my mother leaned over and asked, “Is this sudden death, like in football?” I confidently replied yes, knowing I was not sure but hey I am the one that knows everything sports related so I had to play it cool. We soon realized after Belgium scored that I had no clue what I was talking about :-). I then begin to operate under the assumption that at the end of the first OT if the was still 0-1 in Belgium’s favor, they would win the game. Wrong! We had another OT period. That is when my heart really began to pound. Ma and I screamed and squealed in delight as 19-year-old Julian Green found the net and gave the USA hope. We continued squealing every time goalie Tim Howard, the new US Secretary of Defense according to Wikipedia, racked up one of his record breaking saves. We cheered. We hollered. We tried to will our boys to victory but heartbreakingly it was not enough. And just like that it was over.
No more Univision. No more making sure my phone was charged so I could listen to a match if I was away from the tv. No more pictures of thousands of Americans gathered in various locations across the country wearing red, white and blue in support of our boys in red, white and blue. The national excitement surrounding the World Cup was like nothing I had ever seen.
I have heard many people, mainly true soccer fans, gripe about all the “new soccer fans.” While all of us may not be loyal followers of the game, the one thing we all are is American. During those three matches against Ghana, Germany & Belgium, it did not matter if you were black, white, young, old, woman, man, poor, rich, Democrat, Republican, etc. We were all hoping for the same outcome. A USA victory. During those couple of weeks it felt good to tap into the epitome of our country’s name…UNITED.
Let’s do it again in four years! By then, I will know the game and a little more Spanish.
Thank you US MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM for all the excitement and cheers you provided!!! #OneNationOneTeam
Well almost. It started off rough. The morning brought us the sad news that baseball legend, Tony Gwynn, had passed away at the young age of 54. I can admit. His passing left me choked up. Partly because cancer had claimed another person who made such a tremendous impact, not only in their profession, but in this world and partly because little pieces of my childhood keeps getting taken away. Michael Jackson. Heavy D. Paul Walker. Nelson Mandela. Maya Angelou. Junior Seau. Flo Jo. Walter Payton. And now Tony Gwynn.
I was always a follower of Gwynn’s career. Unfortunately, I did not get to see him play a lot because the San Diego Padres were rarely on tv but there were plenty highlights of him on SportsCenter. The swing. The stolen bases. The smile. Gwynn was the kind of player you wanted on your team. Reliable. Dominating. Loveable. Resilient. Daring. Consistent. I never heard a player, manager, reporter or fan say anything negative about him. From what I know he was always the m gentleman who excelled at the game of baseball and life. As Twitter and Facebook lit up with RIP posts, I read articles that highlighted his many achievements. Career batting average of .338. 3,141 hits. 8 NL batting titles. 15 time All-Star. Played in 1,838 games. Only 34 games where he struck out more than once. Let that sink in.
If you had the privilege to watch Gwynn play then you were privileged to watch one of the greatest to ever play the game. How can that not eventually bring a smile to your face?
As the day progressed feelings of sadness would give way to exuberance as the US Men’s National Soccer Team fought for victory. Everyone on my TL was talking about it on Twitter. Everyone in my newsfeed was talking about it on Facebook. For a few hours, we were all on the same page. Again. Reminiscent of earlier when love was being spread all around in reference to Gwynn’s passing, Americans had united to cheer our team on to victory. We watched them give their all to issue payback to Ghana for ousting them in the previous two World Cups. In the 86th minute, revenge was executed. Set up by a perfect corner kick from Graham Zusi, substitute John Brooks put himself in position for the perfect header that would ultimately win the game for the US. I, along with countless other Americans, squealed and cheered in delight. Happy that “our boys” were victorious over their nemesis.
While the famous and not so famous posted congratulatory tweets, a mutual follower expressed his thoughts about it all. He tweeted, “Dunno which is worse, the Heat bandwagon or those who all of a sudden love soccer. I think it’s the latter. #lame.” I responded that he should let us enjoy it because it only comes around once every four years. I would have liked to elaborate but I am not one to send out simultaneous tweets to get my point across. That is why I have a blog :-). To my follower: Yes, there are plenty of people who are all of a sudden tuned in to a sport they do not follow on a consistent basis, me included. I know more than the average person but it is not a sport I keep up with day in and day out. What I can say is that days like yesterday make me happy. In our country, where the news is constantly filled with violence, politics and crime and my TL is sometimes full of rants, gossip and sadness, days like yesterday make me smile. For a few hours, we were all on the same page. UNITED as Americans cheering for fellow Americans. It does not happen very often but when it does, we should cherish it. So yes, you will see more soccer “fans” than usual and that, in my opinion, is part of what the World Cup is all about. Countries uniting, hoping for one common goal. To bring home the ultimate victory. After a rough start to the day, it was the perfect ending.