Soccer Mom Sundays #3

I did a thing.

A soccer thing.

A few weeks ago, I was on Twitter (like I am, a lot) and saw that there was going to be a panel discussion on the Cultural Resonance of Soccer in America. Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? There were several folks connected to soccer media together on the panel, and it was moderated by a professor of Sports Management at NYU. The discussion was followed by a brief Q&A and the whole thing was streamed on Periscope.

I think I’ve gone into NYC more in the past 6 months than I have in the past 6 years. And all of them have been sports-related. And I’ve really enjoyed every event, so I hopped on a bus to Port Authority and took a subway train to the Village. I got to the city early enough to visit my old college roommate at the school where she works. Roomie and I had an early dinner together, and she walked me to the event before doing her regular commute home.

Soon after I sat down, a few familiar faces appeared– other Red Bulls fans with whom I interact on Twitter. We spent a few minutes chatting before the event began. One of the panelists came over to us to say hello: Scott Sandalow, who works for the New York Red Bulls. I’ve come to learn (shockingly, through Twitter) that Scott is a bit of a connoisseur of all things peanut butter and jelly, so I took it upon myself to provide him with a carrot cake jelly roll that was stuffed with peanut butter and jelly. I think he appreciated the gift…

But I digress…. on to a taste of the actual discussion:

The central question was essentially, “Has soccer arrived in America?” And it seemed to be the answer was “kinda, but we can’t stop now.” Within that question, the panelists discussed the role of social media in the soccer experience and what supporter culture looks like because of millenials. One of the panelists referred to soccer as an ‘alt-sport’ and likened it to ’90s grunge. The same way hard rock was suddenly allowed to be more emotional, sports aren’t just for the big bulky jocks. The discussion also touched on the superiority of the soccer arena experience– which is absolutely true: if you don’t think you like soccer, try going to a game. It just might change your mind.

The event was fantastic. And I was back in Jersey and home by my usual bedtime. Since I’m now saving my pennies to buy a house with the Hubs, I probably won’t be gallivanting to Manhattan for a while. But I have to say this constituted going out with a bang.

Play on, my friends!

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Challenge rejected

There were 3 days left to my 30-day writing challege.
THREE.
So I thought I’d go ahead and finish them off today.

But the picture—it’s gone from my post! I can’t see it on my app or by browser.

I suck at these writing challenges anyway– this was going to be the 4th month of writing to complete something that should’ve taken one month.

Oh, well….
I had stuff to do, alright? And I’ll tell you all about that other stuff.

Later.

Now I have to feed children before a family birthday party.

Here’s to never hitting the pause button on life.

Soccer Mom Sundays #2

I promise this is not going to become a soccer blog…. unless it gets me a job with MLS or recognition by actual sports journalists– in that case, all bets are off.

“Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?”– Freddie Mercury

is-this-real-life-or-is-this-just-fanta-sea

(A Fanta sea would be pretty awesome. It really is the best orange soda out there. And have you ever had it in Europe? They still use real sugar– so good. Not as syrupy as here. I’m totally digressing…)

I did something this season that I never thought I would do… I created an MLS fantasy team. I had a limit of 16 players and $120 million to spend. Considering that I only started paying attention to MLS last season, it was odd because I only chose players that I recognized. If I could’ve had all Red Bulls, I would have (but there was a limit of 4 players from any one team). But for the most part… I had no idea what I was doing. Still don’t.

First week: went better than I thought. One or two of my players scored goals, and I ended up with 42 points– but since the average score for the first day was 50, I was pretty proud of myself. Then I promptly ignored it and my picks were locked in before I knew it. I accidentally left Orlando City phenom Cyle Larin benched. So as of right now I have 24 points (participant average of 51).

Rassa-frassin’ googly-moogly…

Well, there are plenty of games left– I just have to be a little more dilligent. And maybe, if Eric Wynalda gives me a couple tips, I could do better as the season progresses.

Play on, folks!

 

Soccer Mom Sundays #1

Okay, so it’s Monday…

But hey– I’m nursing an MLS hangover! Yesterday was the first day of the 2016 MLS season and it was kind of a big deal. 10 games played across the country, most notably featuring the re-match of the MLS Cup Final (Portland Timbers v Columbus Crew) and the ‘Consolation Match’ that could have happened at last year’s playoffs (New York Red Bulls v Toronto FC). In total, 36 goals were scored, and there was plenty of action for the American soccer fan.

In case I haven’t made it clear, I’m a fan of the New York Red Bulls. They play in Jersey, and I live in Jersey. It’s kind of a no-brainer. I’ve gone to a couple of games, and the atmosphere at Red Bull Arena is captivating. The other fans I have met are really great, and I’m learning a lot from them– especially the folks who report on NY area soccer and go in-depth with RBNY. I’ve met a couple of the players, and interact with a couple more on Twitter. I even have a good relationship with a group sales rep (whom I call my “Red Bulls Boyfriend”). Overall, it’s a club I am happy to associate with.

They played their home opener and it…. didn’t go well. First half was amazing, although scoreless. They had good combinations, and stayed up near the Toronto goal, but as my friend Russ McKenzie commented yesterday, there was no finishing– just couldn’t find the inside of that goal. Then, when Toronto scored on a penalty kick in the second half, it was very hard to recover. TFC scored again, and the inability to finish was painfully obvious for RBNY. However, the team has much to be proud of: new player Gideon Baah did a great job in defense, a space that many were concerned about between Matt Miazga’s departure to Chelsea and Damien Perinnelle’s continued recovery. Felipe Martins (who is probably one of the sweetest guys in MLS, by the way) was trying to make things happen up top. If I’ve learned anything about soccer in the time that I’ve really paid attention to it, it’s that the long view is the most important. One loss, while annoying, isn’t the end of the world. It’s pretty  much impossible to have an undefeated record in soccer– unlike the NFL (which may be why soccer lags behind football in popularity).

I watched at least some of 5 MLS games yesterday: Red Bulls/TFC, Chicago Fire/NYCFC, Portland/Columbus, Seattle/Sporting KC, and LA/DC. And that was AFTER watching the 2nd half of Hamburg/Berlin in the Bundesliga! I give up watching re-runs of any show during Lent, so a soccer game is almost always new. I should find a way to monetize this fanaticism…

I have to get in all the watching I can, because in less than a month, I’m going to be spending a lot of time watching a very different competition: The Regulator, Toughie, and Pint-Size Genius all start their own soccer seasons. They’ve been practicing with indoor camps, so hopefully they’re fit and ready to go.

Play on, everyone!

30 Day Writing Challenge, Day 27

27. What you wore today

Ah– you caught me on a good day. I actually got dressed to be presentable to people today. Most days I’m in scrubs or yoga pants.

Red and black striped sweater, black pants, and black dress shoes. You know… ‘teacher clothes.” I’m a substitute teacher again. I’ll be spending most of the month helping out.

Here’s to dressing for the job you’ve got. I don’t think I have that saying correct….

30 Day Writing Challenge, Day 25

25. Four weird traits you have

We’re all a little weird, right? Ok….

  1. I’m big on compartmentalizing. I think a lot of things have a specific use, and those uses are absolutely not interchangeable . There are school snacks and home snacks; garbage bags and carry bags; tomato sauce pasta and cheese sauce pasta; exercise clothes and school clothes and soccer clothes and church clothes. If my kids try to eat their school snacks at home after school or on the weekends, I get very irked. Is it monumentally important? Of course not. But I can’t help it.
  2. I hate naps. Adult naps, obviously: children napping makes my day. But those occasional days off when The Hubs has the nerve… the utter GALL… to fall asleep in the middle of the day?!?! Argh!!!!!! Doesn’t he SEE all the stuff that needs to get done????????
    That being said, I require a nap once a month (if I require one every day for a week, it’s because I’m pregnant– the one nap is because I’m the *opposite of being pregnant* if you catch my drift). It only takes about 20 minutes, and then I’m back to doing whatever I have to do. But I don’t really like that I even need that nap. Sleeping is for night time. In bed. For EVERYONE.
  3. I love crafty projects. I suck at crafty projects. Scrapbooks don’t get done. Cross-stitch kits get abandoned because I messed up a line. Half-finished crochet projects everywhere…I’m getting better at it. I think.
  4. If a kid’s show is good, I’ll watch it on my own. Right now, it’s Gravity Falls and Arthur (PBS). They’re just good quality. And Gravity Falls, like Phineas & Ferb before it, is intelligent humor that I really enjoy. It’s nice to know that I can watch it with my kids… or without.

Here’s to nerd-maste: the weirdness in me honors the weirdness in you.

 

30 Day Writing Challenge, day 24

24. Something you miss.

Purposely vague, huh?

I miss not having to pay bills.
I miss the TV show Covington Cross.
I miss singing in a choir.
I miss singing at a Karaoke night.
I miss drinking too much with my sorority sisters.
I miss game nights with the other amazing couples The Hubs and I call friends.
I miss fun and quirky co-workers.

But I’ll tell you this: I don’t miss any of these as much as I love the things I have.

Here’s to being grateful no matter what.

New feature: Soccer Mom Sundays

Hey.
Hi.

I decided to do a thing.

Maybe it’ll be a regular thing.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I’m the Vice President of the soccer club that my sons have been playing in for a couple years. I’m not a coach, and I’m not a trainer. Heck, I’m not even match fit* right now (I’m working on that).

But I want to contribute…something. To make the game more accessible to the casual watcher. To provide more than a little understanding about the game, since a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. To navigate the sometimes murky waters of this cup, that tournament, and the other league. 

Now I realize that there are plenty of places a reader can go to find these things. I would like to be a sort of home base for readers. I hope to introduce topics and then direct readers
to some of the great resources that I have found.

If you have any questions about soccer or suggestions about what to discuss,  please let me know. I’d like to hear from you, and write about soccer every Sunday.