my day at rfk

For weeks, buddies of mine kept asking if I was going to go to the last of the WCQs, the game in DC vs. Costa Rica on 10/14. Nah, I had to tell them–South Africa, what if there’s an emergency trip to Seattle in November, pumpkins, the budget’s not there. Then JetBlue got in a price war with Southwest and AirTran and I got a plane ticket for $75, a hotel room for $45, and a rental car for $25. A month later I hit the road for a 24 hour road trip, in which:

  • My game ticket got lost
  • Which was okay, because I got a media pass thanks to volunteering to be interviewed about my plans for South Africa
  • “Hey, this one here, she’s not a real fan, she’s Costa Rican in disguise.” If there are other countries in which the head of the national federation crash fan interviews, I’d like to hear it
  • Got on the plane with three scarves and five banners; got off the plane with one scarf and two banners
  • Watched Ruiz and Navas have a killer game; honorable mention to AaFK’s own Herrera, who made a pest of himself all night
  • Hey, drunk guy behind me, I don’t care if you hate Stewie Holden for Houston, he’s playing for your team now, put a sock in it
  • You too, drunker guy next to me who doesn’t even know what’s going on in the game
  • Oh, man, we’re totally playing not to get injured…wait, Gooch what?
  • Got a bunch of sideline-level warmup photos, most of them terrible
  • Kept running into Thomas Rongen postgame
  • Also some people who really obviously had the last name of Onyewu
  • A WCQ where I’m cold and wet, wow, that never happens
  • Airfix, you are my new best friend
  • Managed to miss damn near everyone with whom I was supposed to meet up; superluminal nature of trip kept me from most of the pre- and all of the postgame
  • Mumbled something about dropping some banners off for US Soccer and managed to get free great parking for the effort
  • The bouncing stands are nice and all but attending a game at RFK is watching entropy in action
  • Did you know there’s a dude who works for US Soccer who looks like that sparkly vampire guy?
  • There can be no better statement of all that is right with American soccer than Tim Howard in a cowboy hat
  • Playing for the draw, playing to save face, yeah, we know; doesn’t matter, we are in
  • Tired, bruised, dehydrated, damp, typical flight home after a national team game…only this time I’m watching Sportscenter highlights of the banner I painted being displayed game I was just at.

This concludes our WCQ cycle, and commences a long eight months of putting together next year’s vacation.

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