Saturday, June 19, 2010
South Africa Adventure. Part 5.
U.S.A. The reason I'm here. I tagged along with the team tonight to try and find a cheap ticket to the U.S.A. vs. Slovenia game (which I did.) We showed up to the stadium 3 hours early to tailgate. The place where we were hanging around was a little courtyard right outside the main gates. The place was paaacked with US fans. It was a bit overwhelming, as American fans are by far the most elaborate in their costumage. There were thousands of flags and red, white and blue wigs and clothes and scarves. It was the most patriotic collection of people I have ever been around, even after spending 6 years in the Navy. I loved it. We of course also got all decked out; Jon Wilson (the newest addition to the team) was determined to get himself onto ESPN by sheer enthusiasm alone. I ended up with my makeshift costume; my Navy peacoat, red and white striped face paint, and a Colonial era triangle hat. We looked a hot mess, and got plenty of notice for it. Tons of foreigners asked to get their pictures taken with us. It was awesome. Then, we walked into the stadium. Our seats were literally the best seats I have ever had at any sporting event, ever. They were in the middle of the field, two rows back. I could see the looks on the faces of the US players throughout the game, and had limited confidence that the outbursts that I shouted at the referee were within earshot. It was incredible. The game was a fun one, with the Yanks coming back from being down 2-0 after the first half, to tie 2-2. The ecstasy of those two goals, the singing and shouting, the collective discouragement and elation; it was a terrific experience. And today, I find out we achieved that goal of making it onto ESPN! So awesome. I'm glad I made that trip, and can't wait until my next US match, which should be the 23rd. Anyway, the rest of the team and I are parting ways tomorrow morning, as I make my solo trek to Durban and their off to go backpacking for a few days. I'm looking forward to a little bit of solitude, as well as the trip through a few national parks and some beautiful country. Also, I keep hearing great things about Durban and all that there is to see there. I'll only be there for a couple of days, but it should be a great couple of days. But, yeah. Go U.S.A.!