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

Thursday, June 08, 2006

WC throwback: DF in Washington Post, 6/5/02

So I planned to watch the opening game of the 2002 World Cup between the US and Portugal at home (it was at like 4am Eastern time). I got up at quarter to four and shotgunned a huge glass of iced tea to make sure I stayed awake (though the adrenaline and nerves were enough to take care of that). Thus I was caffeinated to the gills when, in the fourth minute, John O'Brien famously scored to start what would end up being the most extraordinary half of soccer I've ever seen the US play.

But when the half ended with us leading 3-1, staying in my apartment ceased to be an option. For one thing, my downstairs neighbor had lodged a noise complaint earlier that year when I whooped it up a bit too much during a game (oddly enough, the penalty shootout we won against the Canucks in the semis of the Gold Cup in January 2002), so I had to celebrate all the US goals in total silence, especially given the early hour.

I was living in DC at the time (Woodley Park, to be exact), and I'd heard that the Diner in Adams Morgan was showing all games live. Adams is near Woodley, but not so near that you can (as I learned) run from one neighborhood to the next in the seventeen or so minutes between periods of a WC game. I booked it through the dewy DC morning the second the first-half whistle blew, and got to the Diner in about the 55th minute. There were, to my considerable surprise, crowds out the door and into the street, but somehow I managed to wedge my way into a decent viewing spot.

And not long after I got there, US centerback Jeff Agoos scored one of the all time great goals for the US--a beautiful volley on the run into the upper 90 that gave the goalie no chance. Unfortunately, his arrowed shot was into our goal, and the goalie left gaping in admiration at Agoos' skill and placement was Brad Friedel. It was about that point that a Washington Post photog snapped a shot of the fans' horrified reactions, and in that photo (posted above) you can see me right between the two girls in the foreground, hands upraised in disbelief, face red with indignation, looking crumpled and crappy thanks to the lack of sleep and the early hour.

The pic ran as the lead photo in the Washington Post online all that day, and garnered me some minor celebrity. Many friends called to mention it to me, it was emailed around my workplace, and one of the judges on the court I was clerking for at the time remarked on the irony of my working on a case about black lung disease (apparently because the pic illustrated that I lacked no lung capacity myself). The next day's print edition of the Washington Post, which had typically excellent coverage of the game, ran the pic as well alongside a great shot of McBride diving through the air to head in our third. The title of the Post's article that ran with the pics, by the way, was "American Beauty." I'm pretty sure they were referring to me.


Blogger Matt Matros said...

I was living in Woodley Park four years ago, as well. I drove to Summer's in Arlington to try to catch the game, but there were people out the door and they weren't letting anyone else in by the time I arrived. As I started walking back to my car to drive to a friend's house with adequate cable options, the bar erupted with John O'Brien's goal. I heard it from the sidewalk.

Incidentally, I did catch one of Mexico's games at that Adams Morgan diner. "Eso!!!!" Just thought I'd share, since your post really took me back.

8:56 AM, June 08, 2006

Blogger Phutatorius said...


Thanks for supplying the context to that photo. Based on the prayerful postures of some of the foreground figures (along with everyone's expression of deep spiritual earnest) I had gathered that the picture was taken at one of those highly interactive religious assemblies that are so popular with the kids these days — and that the shutter had opened just as a born-again DF was giving up a fervent "AMEN!"

Now that I know the underlying facts and am convinced that you have not been "touched" by the Holy Spirit, I won't be planning an emergency trip to Deutschland to attempt an exorcism.

Keep on keeping on, my quasi-Satanic footie-loving Brother. Be sure to flip over a car for me at some point on the trip.

12:43 PM, June 08, 2006

Blogger ian said...

That reminds me of the day I arrived, thoroughly jetlagged, in Japan four years ago. I said to my travelling companion, who had arrived earlier, if there was any news, and he said the US had beat Portugal.

I assumed it was a joke.

4:55 PM, June 08, 2006

Blogger DF said...

All I've got to say is, Phutatorius is one sexy bitch.

11:00 PM, June 08, 2006


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