Andrew and Donna's Road to the World Cup

Monday, June 19, 2006

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 Hannover. I had pre-booked the tickets, so all we had to do was show up. Oh, did I mention that the biggest game for the US was only 12 hours away? Nice and relaxed; no worries.

We packed up and caught our first train at 9:40 am. We had to switch trains in Frankfurt in order to get to out hotel. We ran into many US fans getting on the train we were disembarking, yelling, “you are going the wrong way!” We were going the wrong way, if we were going to the stadium; that was still to come.

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 US fan on the train who was on his way to Kaiserslautern, taking the route we would be following in a few short hours. We chatted it up a bit. We also met a military wife and her 15-month old son. She helped us figure our where we needed to stop to get to our destination. We still missed the stop and had to wait for train back in order to get to our stop. About a half hour after we should have arrived, we got off the train, saw no way to walk to the hotel and caught a taxi. She took us out into the woop woop and dropped us off.

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 6am the next morning. So we would have to sleep in Kaiserslautern. Seeing as the only reason we got the hotel was for a place to sleep between 1 am and 6 am, we didn’t think that was such a great idea.

Fortune smiled on us on our way though, when we met up with many more US fans on the train ride into Kaiserslautern. One person told us that they extended train rides back all the way until 1:45 am. Great news! Now all we need to worry about was the soccer match.

We watched Ghana beat Czech before our match began against Italy. Both sides were happy to see Ghana win. Us, because it gave three teams a loss, and Italy because they assumed they would beat us and be a lock for the next round.

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 US (for what?) we were down to 9 men. If I had to have 9 men play that game, I couldn’t have dreamed for a better group. They left the hearts on that field. They worked harder than I thought possible and played for the win almost right up to the end. I don’t know how any of them were left standing when the final whistle blew.

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 US fans were going to riot. They threw whatever they had on the field and were booing and yelling at Italy and the refs. FIFA brought in extra people to guard the field. It was getting out of control.

What kept the fans in control was the awesome effort by the US players. How proud was I to be an American cheering our team on, it was incredible. I was embarrassed for the Italian fans. I don’t know how they could cheer on a team that cheats and dives and cries for fouls. It was maddening and just disgraceful to the beautiful game. Although we left with a tie, which gives us a chance to make it through the next round (along with every other team in group E), we walked with our heads held high, because we couldn’t be prouder of the US’s effort; although, I did stare down a few Italia fans with my meanest look. Grrrr.

On the train ride home all of the Germans who attended the game were behind US. They said we totally outplayed Italy and that they thought we worked harder and were the better team. That is such a great feeling to have other countries show respect for your team that way.

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”

Andrew “Danke”

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 2:30, knowing that we had to get up at 6:30 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 US soccer fan.

Andrew 1:48 AM


Real quick... saw the game, watched it with my 2 boys and hubbie...totally agree with you! thanks for representing USA ! Donna, being a "sports widow" myself, all i have to say is that i can imagine seeing Andrew on the sidelines of your future son or daughter's Kiddie Kickers games! ;) Best of everything, Patti
I've been waiting for your comments. I watched the Ghana/Czech game which was really great to watch. Also watched the US game and was proud of the way they played. They held their own even being a man down (I kept thinking how it was really a power play for Italy the whole half). Its fun to hear your comments. Not sure why the ref was so card-happy. The announcers on TV didn't think either red card given to the US was deserved (they did think the Italian one was - thats what you get for making someone's face bleed). Glad you made it home safely.

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