Monday, June 28, 2010


Here's a good analogy for those of you who are new to following the US Men's National Team and their too-early exit from the 2010 World Cup. They're like whatever team in the sport you usually follow that is good enough to make the playoffs, but then that's about it. They're like a solid 8-8, or 9-7 NFL team.

So here's my question, now that you can all relate. Is getting to the playoffs enough? Is it enough that the USMNT got out of their group and onto the Round of 16?

Sunil Gulati expressed disappointment at our results at this World Cup and that made me feel better. I'm glad they all get it. I think everyone involved at USSoccer is crushed because they all expected a lot more this time around. But now it's going to be tricky. Think about it. Look what the Cleveland Cavaliers are going through right now because of an early playoff boot. The road from "pretty good" to "great" is often harder to find than the road from "terrible" to "pretty good". The USMNT is pretty good. Everyone wants great. Me, Sunil, the ball boy, everybody. We all want the USMNT to be as feared as Argentina before we die. But how to get there? Especially in a culture where so many people go out of their way to openly despise your sport. (Yeah, yeah, you hate soccer. Football is better. Thanks for yelling it at me. And fuck you too.)

This is a critical moment for the USMNT. Nobody is happy just being pretty good anymore. It will be interesting to see how the next few months (and next few years) play out.

Friday, June 11, 2010

WC2010 Opener at Soccer City in Joburg

10:45 AM. Stuck in traffic (natch) but not minding it. The party is definitely on here. People blowing those f-ing vuvuzela horns out of their cars, flags waving, people yelling and smiling, vendors weaving in and out of traffic selling whatever someone could put a South African flag on. The game isn't until 4, and the opening ceremony isn't until 2, but everyone is already pouring in. We're all trying to beat the traffic. It's going to be an all-day party.

6:20 PM. Well, you're all aware of the game so I won't bother with a recap. I will say that the 1-1 result was fair given how poorly each team played in the first half. And I loved how Blanco gave the ball away on his first touch. Hee hee.

And, according to George Dohrmann, a writer for, Vera WAS offside. Read why here. But don't try telling it to any of the Mexicans I was sitting with. I was in a luxury suite with a bunch of South African and Mexican fans. About half and half. There was a TV inside the suite showing the broadcast, but no sound. So when everyone (okay, just me and the Mexicans) rushed back to see the replay they were all pissed over what everyone in my luxury suite was a blown call. Of course, Dohrmann from is right. He was offside.

In the suite next to ours on our left was a bunch of drunk South Africans. On our right, a suite full of drunk Mexicans. At one point in the second half, a Mexican player missed a shot and one of the drunk South Africans stood up and yelled across at the drunk Mexicans "So Sorry for Yooouuuuu!". And then he forgot that the seats on the chairs spring up when not occupied and fell right on his ass when he went to sit down. It was pretty funny. We laughed for about 5 minutes. Nothing like a drunk falling down to lift your spirits.

I'm glad we got there early. There was a footbridge across the road next to the stadium that everyone had to cross to get from the parking lot. I'm including pictures of it from during the day and after the game. When I took the day pictures there was hardly anyone there because we were so early. So we were lucky. On the way out, though it was jammed. The crowd moved steadily along, but it was shoulder to shoulder and chest to back.

Gotta get going. Next game starts in 30 minutes.



Thursday, June 10, 2010

World Cup 2010 KIckoff Concert in Africa

Just got back from one of the best concerts I've ever seen in my life. You can read a review of it from here. And a report from Sky News here. And I found this site with video of Alicia Keys performing here.

The only bad part of the evening was the traffic getting there. Just over 3 hours of grueling stop and go frustration for a 15 mile trip by freeway. Hope it's not like this for every event during the World Cup, but I'm afraid it's going to be. We'll just have to deal with it. I guess. There's a popular saying over here: T-I-A. Meaning "This Is Africa". So you'll ask someone "What's with all the traffic and why isn't this being handled better?" they just shrug and say "T-I-A".

The stadium where the concert was held is in Soweto, the famous Johannesburg township/slum area. It was dark when we were driving by, and it looked pretty bleak, to be honest. Made me think that Americans need to redefine what it is to be poor. Being without the latest color TV or car doesn't make you poor. Living in Soweto does.

But the street scene was fantastic. People were just walking and smiling and blowing their Vuzuvelas (which is African for Little Fucking Plastic Horn). I swear, those horns are everywhere and their starting to lose their charm. They blow on them here everywhere. Can't get away from it.

Most of the rest of the day was spent trying to settle in to our hotel room. We walked around a bit, bought some proper adapters for all of our electronic crap and exchanged some money. That kind of thing. Also have been dealing with the internet service here at the hotel, which can be spotty.

Oh, and here's a crazy thing. You know that song by the Black-Eyed Peas, "I've Got A Feeling?" Well I know it's a big hit and everything, but I hate it. Really tired of hearing it. But the BEP's played it at the concert and the atmosphere was so magical and the space so full of hope and love that I started crying while they played. Everyone was singing along and waving their flags and it just seemed like the whole world was coming together to be happy and enjoy themselves for once. Unity. Peace. All that kind of vibe. And it overwhelmed me. I cried during a song I'm sick of hearing on the radio. It was that kind of night.


- Drew

Off To Africa!


Quite an interesting time getting through Heathrow yesterday for my flight to Jozi. My fiancé leaned forward to get to her bag at the same time as our 5 year old and his head collided with her nose, breaking it.

Of course, as any parent knows, when kids do this kind of thing it's always at the worst possible time. There is no such thing as the child who breaks something you don't really need that much anyway, or who throws a tantrum when you're feeling extra spiritual and loving and ready to handle it. They only break things you need that day and don't have time to run to the store to replace, and they only throw tantrums when your blood sugar is low or someplace where you'll be embarrassed by it. They have exquisite timing when it comes to breaking you down. So her nose was broken exactly one minute before we were supposed to leave the lounge and walk 10 minutes to our gate.

And the icing on the cake? Later, after we were in the air the fiancé was more or less settled into a good dull throbbing pain instead of the sharp stabbing kind, the kid went to kiss his Mom and tell her he was sorry but leaned in before she was ready and hit her in the nose again.

So a nasty start to our trip, and certain future therapy for the kid. It might hit around when he's 30 or so when he's wondering why he feels so much guilt in his relationships with women.

But I gained some insight from all this while in my role as a supportive observer. I reckon that as Jesus suffered on the cross, when he screamed out "Father, Father, why did you forsake me?", God probably answered "Because you broke my nose when you were five."



- Posted from my Jesus Pad

Location:Up In A Plane

South African Slang

The Johannesburg Star newspaper had an interesting article: "Guide To Local Lingo To Enliven Stay." Not exactly the New York Post when it comes to headlines, but whatever. Here's some of my favorites from their list.

Howzit: A universal greeting. For "How's it going?".

Bru: Abbreviation of "brother". As in "Howzit bru?".

Yebo: The Zulu word for yes.

Sharp: A sign-off signaling an agreement as well as farewell. Often said twice.

Ag Shame: An expression of sympathy or annoyance.

Eish!: An exclamation expressing annoyance.

Lekker: An Afrikaans word that means superb or fantastic.

Jozi: Johanessburg. Also known as Joburg.

Robot: A traffic light.

- Posted from my Jesus Pad

Location:Up In A Plane

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Greetings From London

A lazy, relaxing day in London today. Decided to stay here a few days before heading to South Africa for the entire World Cup. I have tickets to the opening game, the final, all the US games, and a few others.

I'll be blogging regularly (finally) about my experiences there so stay tuned!


- Drew

- Posted using BlogPress from my Jesus Pad

Location:London, England