Life is good and sometimes it’s great and then there are those rare days that are simply unforgettable. Your wedding, the birth of your child, a moment of professional accomplishment. But who am I kidding, those of us who are either lucky or cursed to have some passionate obsession, particularly with a sport and a team, have our own points in time when our world becomes a big crazy ball of unbridled joy.
There is some quote I’ve seen on facebook or perhaps its a commercial about living for those moments that take your breath away. Last night not only took my breath, it sucked it into a mass of sensory overload. Noise of thousands, each pushing their vocal chords to the limit though adding nothing of any consequence or at least anything comprehendable to the din. The three colors of Old Glory and motion, oh my the motion. As if we were thrown onto a giant parachute and tossed without mercy. There was pressure and perhaps even some pain–someone was grabbing my neck, squeezing it. Suddenly I’m wet and my nose tells me I am soaked with beer that was the only thing that rained on this night. Except for tears and there were more than a few tears.
I have had this moment before. Twelve years ago in South Korea. And that moment is as fresh and wonderful to me as last night will surely be decades from now.
Soccer is an interesting thing. Last night was only one match, the first, in a tournament we have scant hope of winning. So why the emotion? Why will this day be marked among my finest? Surly it has something to do with patriotism or is it nationalism? I would think the distance, time, cost, and energy spent just to arrive here, has created inside us a pool of raw emotion and hope and expectancy and yearning that is not unlike molten lava that awaits a release and when that is able to erupt, the results are spectacular. And being with good friends and strangers, but strangers who are wearing the same colors as you and who are not afraid to grab you and squeeze you as if you were family. To celebrate, to release among fellow fans is what we supporters yearn for. Last night was with countrymen for countrymen and it was all that we could have hoped.