My darlings, I am so sorry for the dearth of postings yesterday! Work is for suckers, I am a sucker, and occasionally work gets in the way of my other job, posting on this blog. Apologies.
One of the reasons I had to work extra hard yesterday was because Philly and I ditched work early on Tuesday to head off to the England vs. Columbia soccer match at Giants Stadium. After sitting in some Route 46 traffic, we just missed the start of the game. Phil's people were already there - girlfriend Emily, buddy Rajeev, and sister Miranda.
When I was 20, I spent a summer doing study abroad in Galway, Ireland. I became friends with two soccer fans and it was the summer of World Cup in Paris. Suffice it to say, we watched a lot of soccer. I played when I was a munchkin, but any real appreciation I have for the sport came from that summer. What makes soccer so great is that it is as good on TV as it is live. Over the years, I have wondered why Americans are so unenthusiastic about the most popular sport in the rest of the world, but I am truly at a loss. Frank Deford gave an excellent commentary on Morning Edition this week about how Americans are uninterested in a sport unless it is dominated by Americans. I suppose that's a possibility. Would Americans know who David Beckham was if it weren't for Posh Spice and that cute little movie?
This was my first live soccer match. As Phil pointed out, soccer fans are singular in their excitement - when I'm at a Yankee game and I run to concessions during play, I know if a run has scored or if someone has gotten a hit by the level of noise emanating from the stands. It's impossible to know just how close someone is to making a goal when at concessions at a soccer match because the rise and fall of the din is perpetually cacophonous. Simply put, it's exciting. Even if you weren't a fan of the sport, you couldn't help but get swept up in the energy and enthusiasm of the spectators around you.
Giants Stadium pulled a healthy crowd of 50,000 and England won 3-2, thanks to a hat trick from Michael Owen, who plays for Real Madrid during the regular season. Owen's final goal was set-up by none other than David Beckham in a perfect pass. It was a sight to see.
I normally think George Vecsey of the Times is in need of a cock punch, but his column on the game was enjoyable. He stuck around for the Metro Stars game which followed the friendly, and remarked: "On the way out, nobody sang, 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles,' but the M.L.S. had another little bit of history. It takes time. "