On the heel’s of last night’s gut-wrenching, heart-breaking result of the USA v. Portugal game, I think a positive anecdote is necessary. There is no sense in re-hashing “what
could should have been” in lieu of some of the awesome that has already happened.
I’d hardly call myself a die hard soccer fan. I play and love soccer, but am not as well versed about the American team as I would like to be. More recently (read: the past two years) I’ve taken up fandom with Liverpool, but considering that is a Premier League organization, it is quite different from international play, which happens—in comparison—much less frequently. Alas, I’ve been an above-casual USA fan for just over five years, but when I have the opportunity to support my country playing a sport I love with fellow Americans, I am all in. Who doesn’t love a good U-S-A chant or 9000? Or, even better, gratuitous “I Believe” chants? The terrorists, that’s who.
BK* and I tossed around a couple of ideas about where to watch the US Men’s National Team (#USMNT) play its 2014 debut World Cup game last Monday. We ultimately settled on deciding between Rhinehaus or Fountain Square and, because we just knew the former would be packed, we decided on the latter. Some things:
- Fountain Square was also packed. But because it’s a public venue, it allowed much more space than a smaller establishment. I have no idea how to estimate crowd numbers, but we’ll go with a “metric shit-ton” of spectators. People of all ages, too, but mostly between 18 and 25, if I had to guess. As Mo Egger said in his recap from the Watch Party, “Soccer is no longer just the sport of the future, it’s a sport of the here and now. And its popularity among the young guarantees its staying power.”
- My vantage point wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t bad either. We got there around 5:15pm, which was early enough to snag decent standing space, but we certainly didn’t have the best spots. There are worse things than having “The Lady” of the Tyler Davidson Fountain slightly inhibiting my view. That’s like saying you’re annoyed by Joey Votto obstructing your view of Jay Bruce hitting (I understand the lineup logistics here are faulty, but just go with it). Be reasonable.
- We got to hang out with a number of good friends, and we got to see some we haven’t seen in a while, and that made for an even better all-around experience. Also gratuitous high fives which make ALL events (especially of the sporting persuasion) that much better.
- The game ended up being pretty great. I mean, save for the 88 minutes in between Clint Dempsey’s kickoff goal and John Brooks’ late go-ahead strike. Even the down time in between the Yanks’ successes brought a high kick to Dempsey’s face and the Jozy Altidore injury. Plenty of drama to go around.
- That go-ahead goal!
- There were food trucks, beer, friends, and a giant like-minded crowd adorned in red, white, and blue— all watching a USA win. On one of Cincinnati’s most picturesque and notorious landmarks. There can’t be many things better.
- This is my favorite post-match article.
We loved our experience on Fountain Square, but we decided to not go back for the second game. Seems anticlimactic, but considering how I felt after my weekend out of town and the excessive heat, I’m glad we opted for staying home and watching. We will be heading to Rhinehaus for Thursday’s match vs. Germany. Hopefully BK gets there early enough to secure good seats. (No pressure, bud.)
To everyone who claims to not like soccer, this tweet puts it best: “Baffled by folks not watching the #WorldCup b/c they ‘don’t like soccer.’ That’s like not going to New Orleans because you don’t like jazz.” And to the people who claim that everyone who watches is a “bandwagon fan:” who cares. There’s plenty of room aboard. One nation. One team.
*Calling BK “Date” has run its course, I think. I’ve decided I need to start calling him by something else. Like his name. Or his initials.