‘Activities | Soccer’ Posts(3)
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in other news, we had out latest pediatrician’s appointment on Friday. sparklet clocked in a a whopping 9 pounds, 1 1/2 ounces, which brings her up to about the 25th percentile for weight. if you couple that with 22 inches long (75th percentile) and 14 inches around (25th) she’s either going to be a bean pole, or a supermodel, or both.
and lastly … i’ve got to find a new time to blog. way back when, i used to blog on my two hour round-trip, public-transit commute, but with the baby i have started driving (i know, i know) which not only takes less time (18 minutes each way) but isn’t a very good environment for multitasking.
more recently, i’ve been blogging during the downtime between the 6:00 pm feeding and the 10:00 pm feeding. the lady sparkler is asleep, and sparklet *used* to be either (a) asleep or (b) blessedly docile. however, since the onset of the six hour rolling dinner feedings last week, there has been precious little time (or free hands) to write anything down.
maybe they make thought-to-screen, telepathy-based dictation software for the mac …
before 2005, it doesn’t matter how much of a soccer fan you were, because it was pretty hard to follow the English Premier League from the States. media coverage was absolutely non-existent, and the matches themselves relegated to premium channel (Fox Sports World) that practically zero cable systems carried.
but by 2005, i had moved to a more benevolent cable monopoly, was able to start following the Premier League, and set about finding a team to follow.
there were ground-rules in my search:
… and said ground-rules led to Tottenham.
at the time, they were good (finish in the top 10 more often than not), but not too good (no major championships since 1991). they have great players (at the time, more members of the England national squad than any other), a storied history (first team to win two championships in one year, and first Brit team to win Europe), great fans (loyal through decades of mediocrity), etc.
fortunately they are still good (won a league championship in 2008 while we were in Australia) but not too good (were in deep, deep danger of relegation as late as February this year) and my healthy interest in Spurs has grown into an obsession.
and, of course, at the center of this obsession is Tottenham Hotspur’s 109 year-old stadium: White Hart Lane.
… and we got tickets.
ever since we found out we were going to Scotland (or more importantly, London) the one place at the top of my list has been White Hart Lane. unfortunately, it’s a bit out of the way … and seats a ridiculously small 36,000 fans each match day.
the weekend we are in London (may 2nd) there is a home match against West Bromich Albion, but it sold out even before tickets made it to general sale. turns out West Brom sucks, and everybody wants to see Tottenham beat up on the sucky team.
as for me, i’d love to see them play a sucky team, but i really needed to see them play in the next year, because they are getting ready to rip beautiful, historic white hart lane and replace it with a new, oval monstrosity that we can only hope will have more character than Fed Ex Field.
so, it took about two weeks and more than a dozen visits to Spurs ticket site, but a couple seats finally came open on their ticket exchange (from people selling tickets they bought but can’t use).
of course, the two seat aren’t together, so i gave the lady sparkler the option to drop out — and spend the day at the spa — but she’s become sufficiently fascinated by Spurs (including steamy Robbie Keane and young/virile Gareth Bale) that she wanted to see what all the fuss was about in person.
such a good wife.
she did mention that she didn’t want to be seated with a bunch of drunk hooligan Brits, so I am giving her the fancy pants ticket, in the new (west) stand with completely unobstructed views, and its cucumber sandwich crowd.
i, however, will be in the east stand … with it’s obstructed views (two large posts hold up the roof over the stand) and it’s (hopefully) drunk, merry and singing Tottenham fans. apparently, it’s the east and south stands that have all the “character” and my wife is married to enough of a character to not seek out more in the English capital.
so, if you happen to subscribe to a channel that carries it, look for us. we will be in section 30, row 1, seat 189 and section 10, row 9, seat 37. i have no idea where they are, but sure am (incredibly) excited to be there.
UPDATE: and here’s what happened.
you’d think in washington, d.c. the hotest ticket in town would be some kind of political event, or maybe that tiger woods golf tourney happening out in bethesda next weekend.
but with approval ratings in the toilet (congress is at 19%, the president at 29%) and tiger on his back with a bum knee … the hottest ticket in the district this summer (hands down) is the visit of super-fantastic-megariffic-star david “bend it like” beckham to our small corner of the footballing world.
his trip to d.c. last year was a circus … and one which the lady sparkler and i opted to watch on the telly instead of braving the soccer-mom driven mania. this year was sure to be no different and — through a couple of tickets t.l.s. scored from work — we got to see it up close and personal.
i’m not exactly a stranger to the beguiling charm of the english flavour of football (or “footy” as the lady sparkler has taken to calling it…) but the national obsession with the chiseled greatness that is mr. beckham has me more than a little puzzled.
sure, i can understand 12 year-old girls screaming … and MAYBE we can extend that to their 40 year-old moms. but, the place was packed with 25-35 year old men with mint-edition beckham branded l.a. galaxy unis … shouting out adulation, and snapping pics. and remember, this is d.c. — it’s not exactly a home game for a team from los angeles.
i’m a 25-35 year old male and, while i am not so ego-tastic to speak for a whole decade of humans, i must say that i remember far more lows in “the david’s” career (thrown out of 1998 World Cup, lackluster showing in 2002 and 2006 Cups, flipping off fans at Euro 2000, benchings by two of the greatest coaches of this age) than i remember his highs.
so while i respect david for his 100+ appearances for the national team, and for his collection of early club championships — that’s enough for me to hope he does well in the States, but not enough to drop $70 on an spanking new beckham jersey and scream at him like a little girl.
speaking of which, the funniest moment of the day was shortly after we arrived with some of the lady sparkler’s co-workers … we were poking fun of the whole scene, when someone from two rows back, right behind out heads, shouted “DAVID, I LOVE YOU!”
unfortunately, we just *lost* it.
oh, right. the game. d.c. crushed them. beckham looked miserable (as a proper brit should, playing footy .. during the summer .. in 98-degree weather .. in an american swamp).
now, the great thing about sports is the (near) universal appreciation of the stories behind the competition … so long as you know where to look.
for every $15-million slugger that dopes his way to the home run record, there is a $600,000 baller for the Celtics who overcomes homelessness on the way to win a NBA championship. for every perfectly-formed sprinter turned out by the u.s. track and field machine, there is a 41 year-old South African dissident who overcomes two shattered knees to break a world record at the World Pacific Games.
never has this been more apparent, that this morning when we went to the u.s.a. trials for the homeless world cup (which is exactly what it sounds like: a (soccer) world cup where all the competitors are homeless).
the tournament was started in 2001 by some activists for the homeless as a way to inspire the homeless to make positive life changes, and some 70% of past participants have gotten off the streets for good.
the u.s. team is being selected this weekend, with a tournament down by the old convention center. city teams from across the u.s. are participating (atlanta, charlotte, minneapolis, new york, the district, austin, etc) with the the best players from each squad being selected for the trip to Melbourne.
there weren’t many people in the crowd for the games we watched, but it was still an incredible experience. the talent and skill were way beyond what we were expecting, and it was pretty easy to see that the competitors were having the time of their life.
if any of this is sounding interesting, the story of 6 participants in the 2006 Homeless World Cup has been turned into a documentary called kicking it (in theatres now). we’ll be there later this week …
instead, we watched the lady sparkler’s hometown team (the houston dynamo) hand the new england revolution (employer of the twit mentioned above) their fourth cup defeat in the last six years. you can guess our allegiances (have i mentioned he’s a twit?) and i can safely say that we were in a small, small minority of people cheering for houston as they sent the revolution to the bad side of the record books.
now, not everybody cares about fútbol/soccer, but focus for a moment on the futility factor here: 4 championship appearances, no wins. only two professional teams share this dubious honor (the buffalo bills and the minnesota vikings, both of the NFL, both 0-4 in the superbowl). hockey has only one team that comes close (st. louis blues, 0-3) and basketball/baseball can only muster a few 0-2 teams (utah jazz, phoenix suns, new jersey nets, san diego padres).
the amazing thing is that major league soccer is just a decade old. imagine what their futility mark could be like with another 30 years of championships to lose. how would you like to be part of a franchise like that? i meant to ask some of the 30,000+ Revolution fans as they were leaving the stadium grounds, but …
back to the twit. i’m normally not one to shower the hate on people, but it’s even worse that i can’t figure out why i loathe him so. part of it could his gawd awful kick medic commercials i have to watch every weekend on fox soccer channel. part of it could be that no matter how good he is for his club (83 goals in 145 appearances, or 57%) he is equally bad for his country (6 goals in 28 appearances, or 21%). or it could just be because he wears his shirts two sizes too small.
regardless, houston won their second straight (the only team other than D.C. to do that) and twinkle-toed twellman and the revs lost … all is right with the world.