Monday, June 19, 2006
Here is a link to the video:
US Fan Support at US / Italy
Back in Georgia
We're looking forward to seeing everyone and catching up in person.
All the best,
Saturday, June 17, 2006 – US Soccer Fan for Life
Saturday morning began pretty laid back. We had a few trains to catch and needed to find our way to our hotel in Bad Sobernheim, from
We packed up and caught our first train at . We had to switch trains in
We boarded a train seemingly headed to no where, but we knew that we’d get to no where in about an hour. We met a
Once there, we were told we missed the shuttle to the game by 10 minutes. So now we were not only locked into a train to the game (actually two trains), but we also were told that another train back wouldn’t be available until the next morning. So we would have to sleep in
Fortune smiled on us on our way though, when we met up with many more US fans on the train ride into
Again, I won’t go over the game, if you watched it then you might actually know more than we currently do. I’ll let Andrew do a recap for you. I’ll just give my take on the game.
While we were headed to the game I insisted that I married into soccer and it would be wrong to call me a fan. Any person that stood in that stadium amongst 46000 other people pulling for their team to win, walked out that night a fan for life.
The experience was surreal for me. The first 45 minutes was the longest adrenaline rush that I have ever experienced. I used to swim and would always get the huge course of adrenaline running through me right before a race, but that lasted as long as my race lasted. This lasted 45 straight minutes. It almost made me throw-up. The fans were incredible. With two goals and two red cards in the first half alone, no one left the stands until the players were off the field. Of course then it was a mass exodus because no one had peed or gotten food or drinks for about 50 minutes.
Almost everyone was back in time for the second half and everyone was just as pumped up. With a quick red card for the
As for me, I yelled and cheered and cried and got angry and worried and elated. Cycle those emotions over and over again and you know what my second half was like. I asked Andrew, he said that I was just as into the game as he was. I never thought it would happen. Another thing that I never thought would happen is that I can’t wait to go home and watch it again to see all of the things we missed. Like didn’t Beasley score to put us up 2-1? What happened there? I thought the
What kept the fans in control was the awesome effort by the
On the train ride home all of the Germans who attended the game were behind US. They said we totally outplayed
Enough soccer talk our adventure didn’t end with attending the most exciting match of my life and of the 2006 World Cup. We only got to Bad Munster on our train and still needed a taxi the rest of the way. We assumed they would have taxis sitting outside the train station, but no, that didn’t happen. I was shivering and told Andrew there was no way I could sleep outside and wait for the morning train. So Andrew found a phone booth, called international information for a taxi company, then called the taxi company. Conversation went something like this:
Andrew “Sprechenzi English?”
Taxi guy “Little bit”
Andrew “We need a taxi at Bad Munster bahnhof”
Taxi Guy “There should be one there”
Andrew “There isn’t”
Taxi Guy “I’ll send one over”
Taxi Guy “Bitte”
Donna “Yeah, you are my hero! I love you! You are so wonderful!!!!!”
The taxi took us to our hotel after nearly hitting a deer and we arrived at , knowing that we had to get up at to start the long journey home. See you all soon!
Oh, one last thing, I was originally going to call this blog ‘Out in the Middle of Woop Woop’. But the game was so amazing that it converted me into a
I don’t want to say too much about the match itself because I think I might lose myself. Right now we are about half-way across the
I want to tag on to the taxi story. What Donna didn’t mention and what I failed to tell her, is that we used our last Euro on the call to the taxi service. We had seven or eight to start, but the first three were wasted on a German information service. I greeted the receiver of my call and asked if she spoke English. She said something like Farfegnugen or (however you spell that!). I said, “Ich verstehe es nicht!” She said, “Yah, yah.” Then I think she was speaking German again, or perhaps she got something caught in her throat. Then she hung up on me. It all worked out in the end, though we would’ve been sleeping at the train station if the taxi service dispatcher didn’t sprechenzi English!
Aside from the game itself, it was so awesome to see Donna so into the game. On the first goal we scored, I turned to Donna and noticed she was being embraced by an old guy who had the seat next to her; they were jumping up and down cheering. Awesome. Then when Beasley scored, we still have no idea why the goal was disallowed, I joined into the celebratory embrace and probably high-fived about six people before I noticed Buffon was preparing to put the ball back in play. Talk about a buzzkill. Most of you have heard the phrase, “Pimpin’ aint’s easy.” Well, for Donna, “Huggin’ ain’t easy!” While she did not exactly hug this random guy, of course her arms were down as they are when many of have tried to hug her, but she did not push him away or even look uneasy. This is fool-proof evidence that wifey was into the game.
Yesterday I wore a red shirt that has the bust of
After the game, some of the singing and chanting continued. For reasons unbeknownst to reasonable people the stadium only had one exit open. So it was a bit of on ordeal to get out. Some particularly enthusiastic
Maybe you don’t know that the Italian league (mainly the four biggest clubs) referees, management and several of the star players are under investigation for match-fixing and gambling. Juventus, one of its richest and most powerful clubs, may be dropped to the third division due to the scandal.
As for the game itself, I do indeed want to look at the recording before passing too much judgment. Like Donna, I couldn’t be prouder of the effort of our guys. I’m not sure why we didn’t use a third sub when it looked like a few of the players were going to keel over, but it worked out okay.
In the first half, Mastroeni was a beast. Totti was taken out of the game because he could do nothing against Pablo. Typically the manager of a 10-man team would remove a striker, but pretty-boy-mr-roma-mr-italia-mr-d&g couldn't do anything against our Pablo. The stadium would not show a replay of the red-card tackle so I don’t know how bad it looked but Pablo has got to be smarter. When the other team is down a man, you know the ref is looking to even things out. Two-footed tackles are out of the question. We’ll really miss him against
I thought there would be more changes from Tuesday’s lineup. One change I was ecstatic to see was Clint Dempsey for Beasley. Clint is like 23 years old, playing on the world’s biggest stage and he is just chilling, dancing on the ball. This guy knows joga bonito. Most important, his play was effective and it seemed to unnerve the Italians. I guess Bruce wanted more defense when he subbed in Beasley after we went down a man.
Donovan had a couple of nice runs. I wish we’d see more of them, but they are not likely as long as he is playing up top. Convey had a few nice runs as well and he served in the dangerous set piece that the Italian so kindly knocked in for us. I can't see a negative word about a US player on this night. I probably could say a few negative words about little Stevie, but not tonight.
I'll get the pictures and hopefully video up tomorrow.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Friday, June 16, 2006: A much needed rest
Note: Donna wrote this entry
Here is the updated link to our photos on Snapfish: Snapfish Photos
Today we took a much needed rest. After being awoken by the cleaning staff at , we decided to put the “Do not disturb” sign on the door. We then slept until just after . At this point the day took a much more exciting turn and we both read for a bit. Around or so, we decided to head over to the airport for lunch. We found a FIFA gift shop with the souvenirs we had been looking for and spent a bit of money on family and friends.
The next few hours were spent watching
We headed downstairs to the lobby for internet and dinner at half-time of the
We ordered a nice bottle of German white wine and ordered the antipasta to start. Before our dinners came, Andrew decided to check out the toilets in the lobby. He decided that German wine was pretty strong even after one glass because he found himself singing soccer chants out loud in the bathroom. Apparently it went something like this, “Didee-ay Didee-ay Didee-ay Drogbra…”
We both were very happy with our dinners. Andrew got a chicken with lobster and I got a wonderfully tender piece of tenderloin beef and asparagus. During dinner I asked our waiter how to say “I don’t understand” in German and he not only told me (several times), but also wrote it down. Ich verstehe es nicht; pronounced Ick ver-stay-he es nickt, or something like that. We finished the night with a little more football, watching the
Tomorrow we leave our home in
Thursday, June 15, 2006: Football Fever in Berlin
After a three hour nap, the alarm woke me at and we were off to
Therese, if you are looking for your people they are in
Before Donna and I (me, more than her) enjoyed all the football-focused attractions, we checked out a few of the tourist attractions.
The gate that used to mark the boundary between East and
The seat of the German Bundestag or federal government: the transparent dome represents the transparency of their republic.
Berliners call the remains the ‘hollow tooth’. The church was bombed by the British in 1943; it’s a reminder of the devastation of World War II.
What struck us most about
On our way from the tourist stops to the football fan fest, we came across a monument to people who died trying to cross from
Onto lighter matters –
We spent the rest of the day eating, looking for souvenirs to buy, and watching the day’s first two matches. Donna and I were both pretty tired from the day in
At half-time of the
Our trip back to
Have a great start to the weekend. Thanks for checking in.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006: Country #11
Today we went to the last of eleven countries,
We arrived just before 11 and headed for the tourist information area to buy our I AMSTERDAM cards which got us into all the museums for free and provided free public transportation. There were many other advantages to the card, we just never made use of them. We were unable to check the weather before we left and were woefully unprepared for cold and rain. Andrew didn’t even have a long-sleeved shirt with him.
We made a plan for the day: 1) Find food. 2) See stuff. 3) Get a long-sleeved shirt for Andrew.
We decided to tackle the food situation first, because it seemed the easiest and gave us time to figure out what we wanted to see. I had brought a Top 10 Amsterdam book which we used to circle the places we needed to go and to chart our way.
Our first stop after lunch was Oude Kerk, the cities oldest monument and parish church built in the 14th century. The Oude Kerk happens also to be smack dab in the Red Light District. Andrew wondered why on earth I would drag him into the Red Light District after hearing the story of Emily and I racing through after being dropped off late at night when we were here in 2000. I explained that we were there at night when it is pretty scary (to me, that is) and that during the day it wouldn’t be as bad, plus some of
We continued through the RLD to see Waalse Kerk, which was founded in 1409 and was all that was left of the convent of
Next we headed toward
After “Darn” Square, we headed to the Bloemenmarkt, a large floating flower market. Andrew contends that it is not indeed floating just because it is on pilings on the water. I still think it is neat. We got some pretty shots of the flowers and bought some tulips to plant at our new house next spring.
We finally tackled #3 on our list of things to do for the day and found Andrew a much needed long-sleeved shirt. Most of the tourist shops sold shirts with pot-leaves, and sayings that were not really that appropriate, so we had found it difficult to find anything. Also, they mostly only sold t-shirts, or sweatshirts; neither were on our list.
By this point in the day the rain had settled in and we headed for the museums so that we could be indoors. We went to the Rijksmuseum where we saw a lot of historical art from
Unfortunately due to some trouble with direction, bad weather, cranky attitudes, and time constraints we never made it to the Anne Frank House. This is twice I haven’t made it. I was sad not to make it, but now we have an excuse to have to come back.
We got back into
Tuesday, June 13, 2006: An Iranian-Swede, some friendly Germans, and some clueless Americans – Next stop, Hannover
The trip required two trains and a metro. We found ourselves on the smoking wagon of the first train, across the aisle from one another. The fellow next to Donna in a Brasil jersey seemed to be equally uncomfortable with the smoking and let out a series of pathetic coughs after two seconds or so. Donna started the unlikely friendship by kindly offering him a cough drop. We learned that our friend came from
In addition to our new Iranian-Swede friend, we were glad to make some German friends during the last leg of our trip. What we could’ve easily mistaken for an overly nosy German woman on the metro quickly became a hero. She seemed to be staring at the printout of the hotel information that Donna was clasping while she expressed her concerns to us in German. We were clueless. The only thing we took away from her desperate attempts at communication was that she hadn’t spoken English in 35 years. This lady would not give up though. She called down the half-empty train, looking for someone who spoke English and German. An older gentleman stepped forward and after the lady talked to him for a minute, told us we needed to get off the train because we were going in the wrong direction. Unlike Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, they did know where we were going. For some reason, they thought we were half-retarded or something and proceeded to make the motion of walking down stairs, under the train station and up the other side for no less than five minutes just to reiterate. I don’t blame them. We said about ten dankes before disembarking. This is just another of the many experiences we’ve had that debunks the prevailing idea that Americans are treated badly in
Thanks to our German friends, we made it to our hotel at the
Just a side note from Donna: I had to take a picture of this word. I think it means exit, but in English, it is a bit too close to something else and continues to crack me up. I realize it is a bit childish, but what can you do?
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
On the radio tomorrow at 8:30 PM your time
First, I'm going to be on the radio in Baltimore tomorrow night at 8:30 PM EDT. My dad emailed the sports director of WBAL suggesting he talk to me about my World Cup experience and he went for it. I'll be talking with Peter Schmuck. You can listen to the talk live at http://wbal.com/
Yeah, that'll be 2:30 AM for me, but note the time of this post. I'm a slave to the beautiful game.
Donna and I got back from Amsterdam a couple of hours ago. Many fans in Germany for the World Cup had the same idea as us. I saw two guys from the Barra Brava, DC United's fan club and tons of Mexicans, Brasilians, etc. We got back just as the fans from the Germany/Poland match were returning from the stadium. They were in rare form, singing, chanting, blaring horns after their team beat Poland with a goal in injury time.
We're off to Berlin tomorrow before a much needed day of rest Friday before we travel to Kaiserslautern for the big match on Saturday.
Love the comments - I hope those who are keeping up with the blog get a chance to go back and read them. We've got some witty friends.
(btw, your comments have not been showing immediately because Blogger was requiring me to approve them...I changed the setting so now your comments should appear rather quickly)
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Monday, June 12, 2006 – Rough Start
That was a tough game to watch. The worst thing that can happen to the
Anyway, I know most of you don’t care about the game that much so I’ll talk a little bit about the personal experiences. I’ll paste some analysis at the bottom.
The travel from
We did alter our travel plans a bit, but I didn’t feel guilty after we learned that our match tickets served as bus, rail, and underground tickets for any public transportation in
For the two hours before the match, the fans were chanting and the excitement was high. The excitement definitely faded after the 2nd Czech goal. The whole experience was pretty surreal.
A bit of post-game analysis
Give credit to the Czechs – they were very organized defending and their midfield creativity caused some problems for our midfield and defense. Their early goal would be a dream start against anyone, but it was especially helpful considering the
A look at the three goals (note: this is going off of memory alone)
The first goal was a simple lack of tactical awareness by the team. Eddie Lewis got caught forward from his left back spot. When he ventures forward, Pablo Mastroeni, Claudio Reyna, or Bobby Convey should fill the void. Mastroeni was nearest but the CR player had time to have a touch, look up and pick out the giant Jan Koller in the box, and hit a millimeter-perfect cross for Koller to head in.
The third goal was the result of a tired US team playing a 2—6-2 and Onyewu being unable to foul due to the caution he received in the opening minutes of the game. Surely he would’ve slid in and stopped the play 35 yards from goal instead of allowing Rosicky to go in alone at Keller. Keller went down a little too easy on the breakaway as well, making it much two easy for Rosicky to flick it past him.
Monday, June 12, 2006 – A Soccer Widow’s Perspective
Note: if you can't tell by the title, Donna wrote this guy. I'll try to get some pictures up soon.
Today we left
Unfortunately that was just about the last thing to really go right for the rest of the day. The one hour bus ride to the airport gave me an awful bout with motion sickness which somehow managed to last right up until we arrived at our hotel in
We landed in
We dropped off our bags in our room and attempted to head to the stadium. We asked the woman at the front desk how best to get to the stadium. She told us take the train, turn left, go two lights, and turn right.
We did exactly that. We did not find a train station. Instead we found the underground, which Andrew tried to convince me was the way to go. After searching long and hard for a stop for
We headed back to the hotel to ask for help again and this time understood that the first left didn’t take place until we were headed left out of the hotel. We found the train station in about 3 minutes. (Who was right??????) Finding the train was not as easy, but with a little help from the information desk we were on our way. After 15 minutes on the train, I said to Andrew, this isn’t what I expected. I don’t see any other people headed for the game. Two seconds (no exaggeration) later, the train doors opened up and a flood of US and Czech fans boarded the train.
After getting to the
I’m not going to talk too much about the game, I will leave it to Andrew to describe, but I will give a few thoughts that I had.
I enjoyed the game, aside from the loss that is. The fans for the most part were very enthusiastic, the stadium was very nice, and the players played very hard. We had a few people that were too cool to stand and cheer sitting near us, but for the most part everyone stood (until we were down by 3) and everyone cheered. Andrew started to grumble about our seats, then I reminded him that he had chosen the seats because he didn’t want to sit with the suits, he wanted to sit with the real fans. He kicked himself for that one. But I followed up that reminder with, “Remember how many people didn’t get tickets. They would have given a lot to sit where we are sitting.” That brought his mood back up a bit.For my part, I was very nervous about the loss. I didn’t know how Andrew would take it. Anyone who knows Andrew’s passion for