wherein DF travels to Deutschland for the 2006 world cup to follow the US men's national soccer team

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The what and the why

So I'm going to the World Cup this summer in Germany to see the US and to be part of the carnivalesque madness that is this quadrennial celebration of national pride, borderless camaraderie, booze, glorious sport, low-scoring defensive stalemates, and additional booze. You heard it here first, unless I've told you already.

And why am I shelling out for this journey? Because, broad readership, some things are fated. For those who doubt the necessity of the journey or the existence of fate, witness:

I fell in love with the jogo bonito (soccer, or for the purists and/or anglophiles, "football") when I was living in Amsterdam during summer of 2001, and what had been a mild interest in US Soccer became an unhealthy--some might even say deeply disturbing--obsession that fall when I attended two World Cup qualifiers back to back (a tragic 3-2 loss to Honduras in DC, and then a glorious 2-1 win versus Jamaica in Boston that put us in the 2002 World Cup).

And since then, soccer has been the great constant in my life. Following my road-to-Damasus-esque conversion back in the early part of this millennium, much has changed (truth be told, little has stayed the same). Career zig-zaggery, great loves won and lost, continents traversed: kind of the norm for DF. But the bright red thread that runs through all of it has been (he wrote more out of a sense of required honesty than anything approaching pride) the soccer, and in particular the US men's national team. Since 2001, I haven't missed a game, and I've shelled out mucho dinero to travel to see the team play in person (including last fall's epic 2-0 victory over Mexico in Columbus that put us in the 2006 World Cup).

But despite all that, I'd written off the prospect of actually attending said Cup. Part of the reason is penuriousness; the new job is great but doesn't pay so well, which puts the damper on engaging in the international travel. Part of the problem was logistical: where to stay? Who to spend those two weeks with? Then I learned that an acquaintance landed a job with fifaworldcup.com that was going to put him in Berlin for the duration of the World Cup. I wavered, but still declined. Then the aforementioned acquaintance reminded me that my wavering was ridiculous. I had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see my team play on the world's biggest stage, plus free lodging, plus an inside track to tickets. I saw the light; I bought a ticket; I'm going.

So why write a blog? A few reasons. First, I love writing about soccer, and while I find that contributing to the ne plus ultra of online soccer communities is enjoyable, I want a forum all to myself. This is it. The aim of this blog is to combine a few factors: my soccer knowledge, which is reasonably ample though well short of expert; a limitless enthusiasm for the game and in particular for the USMNT; and whatever observational comments I feel inclined to make in the course of following the team's preparations for the mundial and in particular during my trip to Germany this summer. In contrast to last year's travelblog project, I'll be enabling comments in the unlikely event that anyone wants to chime in.


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