Soccer Hooligans & Me

Soccer hooligans are among my favorite people in the world. They’re right up there with Nana and my mom–and are almost as rowdy as either of those two ladies. So, when Clamp asked if I wanted to go to the USA vs. Czech Republic game at Rentschler Field, I jumped at the chance. Then he told me we would be taking a bus to get there…and I almost lost my shit.

Honestly, taking a chartered bus is pretty much the best way to travel anywhere. I damn near missed it altogether, but eventually I caught up with them and took my spot on what resembled the transportation for a mid-western farm league baseball team. There was beer and a lot of red-white-and-blue paraphernalia. What more could a girl ask for? (Other than a bus with a bathroom?)

As you have no doubt experienced if you live in East Hartford, traffic absolutely sucks whenever those P&W folks are getting in or out of work, but it’s even worse when there is a big event at The Rent. So, it is not surprising that many bare asses and wangs could be seen as people peed in the parking lots and on the sides of the road while waiting in traffic.

We were pleasantly surprised to see so many people turn out for the game though. The place was packed, and there was at least one group of Czech fans who helped bolster my hopes of a possible brawl. The U.S. took an early lead and the crowd lost it’s mind. But it didn’t last. As you may have already heard, we lost 4-2 to a team that, as many media outlets have put it, didn’t even qualify for the World Cup. NPR told me, though, that the U.S. team was playing some of the players up for elimination as the team decides which seven players to cut before the World Cup starts.

I like soccer, and often argue with Ring Nation about its virtues as compared to (American) football. Back when I was a sports reporter who spent a lot of time at high schools watching games, I always chose to go to the soccer games. The weather was usually nicer, and it’s much faster paced, which I like. Frankly, until my little brother started playing, I didn’t even understand football. But I also like the soccer culture–and I don’t mean moms in mini-vans with stupid brats who just need a place to run around for a few hours. I’m talking about the drunk, rioting thugs who make going to a game far more interesting than your average car crash.

Of course, Americans haven’t quite gotten that riled up about soccer yet. We only burn stuff when, say, the Red Sox win the World Series. So, I managed to get back to the bus unscathed (sadly) and without a new hooligan boyfriend (even more sadly). But the cluster-f that is the Rentschler Field parking lot (with it’s 2 exits) meant we spent a lot of time sitting on the bus, singing along to good and bad songs, and eventually falling asleep. Once we managed to get out of the game traffic we  ran into construction traffic on 91 South. It sucked, but it could have been way worse. Had any of us actually been responsible for driving it would have straight up blew ass. Instead, we curled up in our seats and learned to live with still being on the road at 2 a.m.

I highly recommend going to a soccer match at The Rent if you get the chance. In the meantime, I’m going to work on becoming a Bridgeport Bluefish groupie.

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