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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

WWC 2015.

You've heard the saying, "Act like you've been there before."  Not us.  It's about the fun! ... Except the teenager to our right named Nick Griffin.  Cooless 

Okay, so a few games have already kicked off and we are just turning on the ignition to the blog for WWC 2015.  Timing of this World Cup has unfortunately left our gang still in school, at work and racing around wearing too many hats to get this party started in true World Cup fashion.
HOWEVER... the World Cup kicked off in dramatic style with a late (and I mean late) penalty kick for the host country and has rolled right along with FIFA in jail, more countries represented, 130 degree bouncing balls on synthetic turf fields,  and the usual controversy.  Yes!!!!

So... we will try to set the scene in this first blog knowing full well the anticipation, drama, gut wrenching missed opportunities, dramatic finishes, bone crushing tackles at the highest level of the worlds most popular game will crescendo as the month of soccer kicks on.

While the news of WWC2015 sounded fantastic because it was in the back yard of our neighbors to the north , Canada is, in a word, HUGE. Canada is 3.9 million square miles vs. Germany's 358,000 square miles so bouncing back and forth from venue to venue with family & friends in tow was not in the cards.
Peace Arch at the Border!  

Our gang of 6, missing a Zach and gaining a Heather,  headed out early to get to Vancouver in time to watch USA/Australia on TV & be near the stadium for the Japan / Switzerland game. (No RV yet, stay tuned) The border line at the Peace-Arch with idling cars allowed us to stretch our legs (aka sprint out of the car before it moves!)  and of course bump into old experienced soccer teammates, snap some groupies, high 5 and get pumped for the ensuing match.  Our pre-func was near the stadium where we were able to watch Nigeria come from behind to tie a Swedish team that we're hoping shows up vs. the U.S. on the 12th still depressed from giving up a 2 goal lead.

Nigeria is a team which has had quite a bit of success internationally and always gain momentum as the tournament moves on.  Without much $ for programming compared to USA, Sweden, or Australia,  Nigeria usually learns on the fly, starting a bit rusty and unorganized and becoming more synchronized with each day spent together.  Their first game showed the athleticism that makes them special, but also a much more unified team than we've seen in the past.  Oshoala and Okobi are a handful and their goalkeeper Precious, which means "Very Valuable", must treat that ball as if it were gold.  She has been between the sticks FOREVER and I still gasp every time that ball is in the air heading perilously to the goal.  It's a crap shoot whether she will go for the ones that are in her range or freeze and let mayhem ensue right before her eyes.  A crowd pleaser at times, she is sure to keep things interesting.

.... and while we are on the topic of GK's.  Wearing our Red, White and Blue seemed to communicate:  "It's open season to join our group and talk about the U.S.A."  We had complete strangers walk up to us and say some pretty forward and abrupt things about our U.S. goalkeeper. We've never felt the need to defend her as she's clearly been surrounded by controversy and been the center of some deserved and some undeserved negative attention. However, we HAVE always contended that she's the best goalkeeper in the world and that on the biggest of soccer stages she will perform and help her team. She did not disappoint yesterday versus Australia. The U.S. still has Hope.

Today we'll watch proudly as THREE of our Husky alums take center stage in group play.  Dr. Clare Rustad,  former Canadian National Team player and Olympian, will commentate on the CBC during the Colombia-Mexico game in which our Perez hermanas will don the tricolores for Mexico....perhaps the only "sister" pair in the World Cup (we'll have to look that up).
UW's Amanda Perez!

 Friday won't take us BACK to Canada as instead we'll head to Husky Stadium to host a U.S.A./Sweden viewing party with some of our best soccer friends, donors, and fans.
 Then it's back to Vancouver for U.S./Nigeria on June 16th....this time with friend, and Amy's '91 World Cup teammate, Debbie Belkin Rademacher in tow! She hasn't seen the U.S. women play live since '99 and she leaving the menfolk behind in Michigan and visiting with us for a few days and to trek north to the match! So excited to have her and it begins the parade of family and friends that we'll see this summer because of the game we love!!!!

So installment one of the 2G network is in the books, right along with U.S.A.'s first victory of this World Cup. Thanks for tuning in!

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