For Love of The Game

This month is chalked full of amazing soccer games. My love of soccer is rivaled, perhaps, only by my lover of writing, and this month soccer may win out. Why? Because two huge international competitions are being held. First, and already in progress, is the Copa America Centenario, the 100th anniversary of the oldest international soccer tourny in the world. On June 10th the European Championship begins in France, which is also bound to be extraordinary.

The other day, however, I went to a game in Seattle. Now, Seattle Sounder fans are a bit notorious for being Seattle fans first and soccer fans second–sadly the attendance at this game showed the truth of this all too well. The match was between Haiti and Peru. Two teams that never make the big stage of the World Cup. Peru has potential, and they showed flashes of it against Haiti, but Haiti never makes the World Cup and typically is a completely overlooked country in much more than just soccer.

The stadium is a 67,000 pot, but only 20,000 people came for the game. This is a major international competition, and yes, these were B teams of the tournament. They don’t have the recognizable players like Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Mexico do, but a love for the game is supporting the games that are smaller–because the play can still be great, the game exciting. But Seattle fans are fans of themselves, it seems, not so much of the sport.

On the 14th Argentina and Bolivia will face off in Seattle, and I expect attendance to be much higher then. If Messi is likely to step onto the field, more people are likely to show up.

The European Championship, on the other hand, is stacked for some intriguing and exiting matches. Germany must be the clear favorite. Their dominance in the 2014 World Cup was incredible and amazing to witness. But Spain, France, Italy, Holland, and even England, can’t ever be ruled out. Then there are the dark horses, or sleepers. Wales has made the Euros for the first time (maybe ever, I’m not sure), as has Iceland–which I’m hoping show well for themselves as it’s one of my top destinations for future traveling. With so much soccer coming up I don’t know how I’ll get anything done at all this month.

10/17/14

When I was in Europe I was never robbed, but I was threatened once because I was American (W. Bush was still in office and that wasn’t popular). I stayed awake all night in Munich at a bar full of concerned Germans as the 2008 presidential election took place. There was one guy–another American–who had voted for McCain. It was made very clear very quickly that he wasn’t wanted in the group of people I was hanging with.

People from all over the world rooted for Obama. Half of the United States, or almost half, Voted McCain.

When it was announced Obama had won the election I cried. I had grown up, since 7th grade until I was 21–a time in which I became increasingly politically aware–thinking what the government from my country was doing was wrong and harmful to others. I was right, and it still continues, but to a lesser extent now, I think.

In Lagos, Portugal I fell in with this girl who was beautiful. She had short hair for a girl and a slim build that didn’t warrant breasts that size. We spent our days on the beach and taking naps and having sex as much as physically possible. It didn’t last for more than a week. I was a traveler and had to move on.

In Granada I met a woman from Estonia outside a small grocer. I’m unsure what it was about my look, the sweater I was wearing, the long hair, the overall air of raggedness? but she walked right up to me, just as ragged and said, “Hey, you want to buy some hits?”

And I said, “Of what?”

And she said, “LSD.”

And I said, “Naw, that’s ok, thanks though.”

Two night later I had been drinking and went to the same grocer. I met a man from the Netherlands who asked me the same thing. I’d been drinking and said yes. I split six hits with my friend Sue, but we didn’t take them then. We waited to the next morning and when the sun was coming out we went to the park and I took three hits and she took two and another friend of ours named Sarah took just the one, but we had one of the best days in the park ever. There were these large prints of photographs from all over the world put up and as we were sitting near a statue a man named Tim walked up who we had run into in Lagos and in Sevilla. He didn’t know we were tripping at first but after a while he figured it out and was cool with it and just hang around with us looking at the large prints of monkeys and landscapes and he made us laugh so hard with his commentary.

When the sun began to dip in the low trees we made our way to a place to watch the sunset. I sat with Sarah and we listened to music while Tim and Sue spoke in the background and over the city of Granada the sun put the city to sleep. Sarah and I went back to the hostel and I fell asleep. Sarah stayed up drawing.

After that I didn’t go out much on that trip. I only had a week left in Europe and if LSD has ever done anything for me, it’s always made me question my actions. Why was I going out? Why was I partying? Sue was bummed because when we went to Barcelona I liked the sight seeing but wasn’t much excited for going out at night.