- What do you think is more likely to change – a person or a situation?
- Do people get run over every day on Troy’s Hoosick Street? Why aren’t there more pedestrian crosswalks? Why don’t people use the ones which are there?
- Is it uncommon to alternate between feeling feel ultra calm and on the verge of hyperventilating?
- Are you registered to vote? Have you seen the Republican candidates? Don’t they make you want to vote?
- How fun does this look? Who else is in?
- Is it easier for you to remember or to forget?
- Any advice on how to score tickets for a soccer match in Barcelona? Lisbon?
- Did you make any resolutions for 2015? How’s that going?
- Do you agree that most people would be more pleasant if we had a 3-day weekend every week?
- If you could only have one flavor of ice cream for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- What scares you more – things never changing or the fact that they might not stay the same?
Category Archives: soccer
In the upper left hand corner, there’s my Seen gallery from Friday night’s Dave Matthews Band show at SPAC. Hitting at least one show at Dave’s annual two night stop in Saratoga is a tradition for me and one which I’ve been sharing with my middle son for the past few years. A couple of days prior to the show, though, he told me he’d rather go to his uncle’s lake house to hang out with his cousins than go to SPAC. I couldn’t have been more proud of his choice. Those are good priorities.
So, off I went solo. I drove up early to avoid traffic and get my photos prior to going through the gate. For the first time ever, I rode my bike around the park snagging my pics and it was a blast. Full confession: I did not wear my helmet because I thought it would be too weird.
I did, however, use extreme caution and was never really on a road at all. 100+ photos later, extra ticket sold for slightly below face value, I made my way to my seat and got my DMB on. It wasn’t my favorite setlist ever, Bela Fleck or not, but I still had a good time.
Sunday I hopped back on my bike, avec helmet, and rode down to Wolff’s Biergarten to snap some Seen pics of the crowd gathered together to watch the women’s World Cup final.The Independence Day holiday weekend combined beautifully with our USA women’s team to create a festive sea of red, white and blue. The energy, as always, was contagious and the roars of the spectators were deafening with each of our team’s five goals. Phenomenal and worth waiting 16 years to see!
I took a bunch of pictures of small groups and pairs of friends. I also worked hard to get an exceptional shot of the crowd, stepping in to the position that TU photographer Michael P. Farrell had occupied during Wednesday’s semi-final game. It was a good vantage point and I got a picture that made it on to A1 of the Times Union’s print edition, which was a thrill almost equal to the first 15 minutes of that final match.
For the first time ever, the Seen gallery was accompanied by a brief video. At an event such as the World Cup final a 12 or 15 second video conveys what’s happening beyond the power of still photos.
I mean, if a picture tells a thousand words, a video tells a million. Be sure to click on the video for a dose of competitive patriotism at its finest.
Last night my soccer playing middle son and I went down to Wolff’s Biergarten to take in the women’s World Cup semi-final game. It was a great match up – #1 ranked Germany vs #2 USA and we, along with the majority of those present, were thrilled when our women were victorious with a final score of 2-0.
The bar was packed and the roars of the crowd were deafening. It was fantastic. There were so many familiar faces and it took both hands to count the number of former students who were present. Time does move on, doesn’t it?
The last time our women’s team won the World Cup was 1999, the same year my middle son was born. I remember we were in Harwich Port, MA and had the game on the little television set which was in our bed and breakfast. My oldest son was two and was completely captivated by the post-game excitement emanating from that small TV perched atop the mini fridge. It was unforgettable.
If England beats Japan tonight, Sunday’s final, a USA v England match on Independence weekend promises to be epic. I hope to be with both of my big guys, Liam the Anglophile and Griffin the baby born in our last winning year, at the Biergarten. Maybe I’ll see you there!
Photos from last night’s match are here.
Are you a soccer fan? Prior to the recent World Cup tournament, I certainly wouldn’t have declared myself to be one. When I answered Matt Baumgartner’s call for temporary employees to assist during the tournament, I was responding as a worker, not a soccer fanatic. But, something has definitely changed. This whole soccer thing? I think I like it.
Although two of my boys play soccer, I’ve avoided the moniker “soccer mom” with the skill of a teenager ducking household chores. Not me, no way. I attend games and cheer enthusiastically from the sidelines, but I certainly have no interest in driving around in a minivan with a soccer ball decal stuck to the back window. You know me, I’m not much of a joiner or follower.
The first match I worked was Team USA vs Portugal. The crowd at Wolff’s Biergarten was tremendous – pumped up and loud, but in no way aggressive or obnoxious. I loved their enthusiasm and the excitement was contagious. This was definitely going to be fun.
As “our” team advanced, along with Team Germany, the team of my maternal side of the family, I realized that my soccer playing middle son needed to be part of the scene. I arranged to bring him and a couple of his friends down to check out a match. They were awesome! In a crowd of hundreds, they hung out, clad in red, white and blue, mesmerized by the game and the other spectators. I was impressed by their poise and comfort and knew that Griffin and I would become regulars for the duration of the tournament.
As the matches came fast and furious, so did the communication between my family and me – emails, Facebook messages and status updates. Knowing that my family in Germany were occupied watching the same event as we were, was intensely comforting. Who knew that a ball game could make the world seem so small? I absolutely loved it.
When Team USA was eliminated, we placed our energy into cheering on the motherland, Deutschland. Our German flag accompanied us to the subsequent matches and I cherished the opportunity to be proud of being German in a world that doesn’t always perceive us as being worthy of admiration. The hefeweizen flowed and steins were raised amidst shouts of Prost! and Griffin and I hung out, side by side, united in our interest for 90+ minutes.
Four years from now, my son will be 19, perhaps not as inclined to hang out in a sports bar with his mom as he was this year. I’d like to think, though, that he’ll someday tell his own children about the times he and I spent together watching the World Cup. If he doesn’t, believe me, I will.
More pictures from the tournament here.
For those of you with school age children – what are your summers like? Are they a time to explore new interests, further develop skills and pad college applications? Are your children busy with summer jobs or camps? Maybe they’re already tackling their summer reading lists to get a jump on things for fall. All good things I suppose.
Around my house, though, things don’t look quite like that. My oldest son has been busy re-watching episodes of Murder She Wrote and mastering the art of making omelets. He also has a part-time unpaid internship set to begin in another week or so and I know he is looking forward to that experience. Liam also learned recently how to pay by phone for Chinese food when I forgot to bring my wallet when I picked up the Chinese food, which meant he needed to call in my credit card information. I think that’s an important life lesson, don’t you?
The middle guy has been occupied with playing lacrosse and watching the World Cup. He’s been working on his game, both on and off the field, and I had a weird sense of pride when I saw his photo in a recent Seen gallery shot at Wolff’s Biergarten. He was rocking his red, white and blue and appeared completely comfortable taking in the match while surrounded by beer-fueled adults. I believe he finally may now understand that spending a little time each day doing homework eliminates the need to spend 10 more months taking Spanish 2 because you failed the class with a 62.5. My walk last night with Jeter also taught him that I may just unexpectedly come around the corner when he is out hanging with his friends in the neighborhood – a good lesson for him to absorb, don’t you think?
As for my youngest, well, this week he mastered making his own pbj and has been taking even bigger steps towards independence. Last weekend, for instance, he attended an afternoon birthday party a couple of blocks away and walked home solo. Sort of. The birthday girl’s mom texted when he was leaving and there may have been an older cousin who walked him partially home. The bottom line is he felt a sense of accomplishment and independence. That is the kind of summer enrichment I’m looking for.
Summer, for me, is a time to catch up on things – some tasks around the house, a few books I’ve been meaning to get to and visiting friends I don’t often get to spend time with during the school year. How about you?
How was your Sunday? Mine was wonderfully insane, thank you very much. Why, you ask? Well, I spent my day selling mugs and beer tokens down at Wolff’s Biergarten, which may not sound very fun to those of you who aren’t into crowds or soccer, but it was right up my alley. There were hundreds (thousand+?) of folks sporting red, white and blue looking to have a great time on a gorgeous day. What could be bad about that?
While the match may not have ended soon enough for team USA to walk away with a win rather than a tie, it was still a fantastic day. I’ll be working a number of additional shifts in the next few weeks and hope you all make it down to take in a match and indulge in some tasty beer and a scene unlike you’ll find anywhere for this event.
For the uninitiated, here’s how it works: for $20 bucks you get a 1 liter plastic stein and 2 beer tokens. The tokens are good for .5 liters of beer so you can fill your mug fully once or halfway twice, your call. Personally, I’d go with the halfway twice because I like my beer cold and I like to wander between the Biergarten and the Bier Tent. Since taking beer from one location to the other isn’t permitted, you’d probably want to enjoy a beer in both places to catch the full scope of fandom. Need more beer? Additional tokens are $7 each or 3 for $20 and the tokens don’t expire. Speaking of not expiring – your stein will get you entry into any and all subsequent games so make sure you hold on to it. Bring it with you for any matches during the World Cup and you get in without any additional charge.
So, there you have it. Soccer, bier, peanuts. Come get some.
Do you remember that movie Kicking and Screaming? I think I lost the dvd in the divorce, but remember it as being about a kids’ soccer team and it was cutely funny. Well, let me tell you something, being a soccer mom isn’t remotely amusing. Practice three days a week and double-header games that begin at 7:50 on Saturday night are not cutely funny to me at all. As a matter of fact, they’re really annoying and inconvenient. Why are 13 year-olds beginning games at 9:20 pm? Is the dome in Latham that heavily scheduled, and if so, shouldn’t some thought be given to building another one in addition to the two already in use?
I understand that team sports are a positive influence in my (any) child’s life, but I guess I’m a little new to the game. I was pretty active as a kid, yet I don’t recall playing on any teams outside of school other than a softball team when I was a teenager – and I walked the 2+ miles to practice and games. Uphill, both ways, naturally. I don’t use my own mother as a yardstick for appropriate parental involvement, but don’t recall her ever coming to one of my games – or my even anticipating seeing her sitting in the bleachers. It just wasn’t expected.
These days, as Griffin follows a 90 minute morning practice with 3 consecutive afternoon/evening games kicking off at 4:40, I wonder how parents with multiple children with multiple activities do it. Do they drive minivans because they actually sleep in them? Is it that the parents have completely yielded their lives to managing their children’s lives? I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in doing that. Call me selfish if you will, but 5 hours of soccer leaves me wanting to do a little kicking and screaming of my own. Where are my cleats?