I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that yesterday actually happened. My throat is still sore from cheering.
I think that I can pretty safely say that going to the women’s World Cup final in Vancouver was the coolest, most amazing thing I’ve ever done. Right now I really can’t think of anything cooler.
I went by a certain phoilosophy I have about these types of things: the only way to go is all out. I wore an American flag bandana around my chest; American flag boxers as shorts; red, white and blue striped socks; pigtails in my hair tied with white curling ribbon and a blue headband. Oh! And I had “USA” written across my face in face paint. And you know what the best part about my costume was? That I didn’t really stand out. (I mean, mine was definitely in the top few of the ones I saw, but… ;)) EVERYONE was decked out in red, white and blue. Except for the few Japan fans, that is. It was like the US had taken over Canada. It was beautiful!
Enough about the fans, though. Let’s talk the game! My family was sitting about ten rows from the field. TEN ROWS. I had tears in my eyes when I first sat down. We were about halfway between the six and the eighteen on the end line, and for the whole first half Hope Solo was standing less than 50 feet away from me. Absolutely incredible.
The first goal, the crowd went wild. What the heck had just happened!? We were already one up!? I screamed and jumped up and down and had the biggest grin on my face. I barely had time for a breather before the second goal came. Again, everyone on their feet! Flags waving everywhere! You could taste the excitement and pure joy in the atmosphere. We were charged with the electricity of the idea of taking the title from Japan.
Then we get a few minutes. Oh look, some passing. Great possession. Win it back. And then, suddenly, GOOAAAAALLLL! How on earth? What has happened? This is so unreal, so utterly unbelievable. But there it is, right in front of my eyes: USA- 3, Japan- 0. At this point, the crowd has gone crazy. We scream and jump and hug and laugh. It looks like we’ve got it in the bag. Less than a sixth of the way in, and we’ve won the World Cup.
And then, the most amazing (can you tell how limited my vocabulary is; I have no words that can describe what yesterday was) thing yet. Carli is dribbling in the middle of the field, just around the edge of the circle, maybe, and Japan’s defense parts like the Red Sea. There it is, the goal, just waiting for the weight of ball again. Lloyd doesn’t keep it waiting much longer. As soon as I saw that shot, I could feel that it was going in. And then it did: Japan’s keeper tried to back up, but couldn’t get there quick enough. She got a finger on it as she fell backwards and the ball fell into the goal. At this point, we are all shocked. Happy shocked, but shocked none the less. Hat trick Carli! Thank you Carli! We love you Carli!
Even as Japan got two points, even as we got another, there was no pause in the energy in that stadium. No cease in the chants of USA, USA, USA! We were united. We were from all states and all backgrounds, but we forgot our differences for those few hours, for that one team. We were standing there, on our home continent, and we literally personified our country.
And because of all this, because they made my year, because they united us, because they inspired me and thousands of others, because they were absolutely adorable when they were celebrating, because they were a dream come true, and because they won, I thank the United States of America’s Women’s World Cup National team.
I cannot possibly describe how you made and make me feel.
PPS: I know I said that Shopping My Way Through Vancouver was next, but this couldn’t wait. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about it