Monday, June 19, 2006

Go USA

Big USA fan
Please excuse The Blythe Spirit's temporary identity crisis. It's starting to look like a football blog, but that's not a permanent condition. I promise a return to regular programming soon. But this World Cup stuff is just too much fun to ignore.

Jeff and I were in the stands during the USA vs. Italy match on Saturday evening. It was an exciting night, not least because Jeff has been a football fan since he was a little kid, and has watched this event on TV for years and years. It was a thrill for him to be there, and a thrill for me to experience it with him. I've asked him to write a rundown of the match; I'll post it when it's ready. Today, I'll share my impressions of everything outside the competition, since my football expertise only recently came to include an understanding of the difference between a yellow card and a red card (crucial intelligence in Saturday's match).

We arrived wearing our red, white and blue two hours before the scheduled start time, and the stadium was packed. Blue jerseys from Italy dotted the stands, along with plenty of stars and stripes sprinkled among them. We sat in a section populated by both Italians and Americans, all of whom were friendly and completely engrossed in the match. See the photos for a visual sample of 46,000 screaming football fans. I thought Jeff might need a tranquilizer by the end of the game, which finally closed in a 1-1 tie and included several tense calls. But I'll let him fill you in on those details later. I was squished next to April Heinrichs, former USA women's coach, in the park-n-ride shuttle after the match. We (accidentally) followed the USA team bus, along with its giant security escort, down the Autobahn on the way back to our hotel. And now we're looking forward to Thursday's Ghana vs. USA contest with more anticipation than we'd expected to have. Cross your fingers and look for us in the stands (and say a little prayer that Italy beats Czech Republic too).

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