What’s Up? (8/17/15)

Seven Thousand Words.
Today I decided I would write one thousand words once a day, every day this week. I don’t t think anything spectacular is going to happen that’s going to require a lengthy reflection. It’s more the case that I want to make up for lost entries. For every time something important happened and it failed to make it to the blog, there will be this week long super-entry to make up for it.

Starting With.
Yesterday I attended a friendly match between the US Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) and Costa Rica’s National Team. It was the first stop on the USWNT’s victory tour after winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The fervor of their championship victory was still fresh in my head; the way they stomped out Japan, their NYC parade, Rachel Maddow’s giddy excitement over the whole thing. I was swept up by the whole wave of energy, and when I heard they were coming to Pittsburgh, I knew I was going. I felt that I could not miss out on the opportunity to see Wambach, Rapinoe, Lloyd, Morgan, and Klingenberg in action.

What an event it was. With 44,028 fans in attendance, almost every golden-yellow chair of Heinz Field had a fan in red, white, and blue sitting in it. This was the highest standalone attendance for a USWNT yet, and the largest crowd assembled in Pittsburgh for the sport, period. I had a seat with a view I felt you could not beat. I wasn’t the closest to the field, but I had shade from the sun. (Judging from the sunburned and downright over-riped tans of the people exiting the game, it seemed that you really needed the sunscreen that  day). I was looking at the field long-ways, 90 degrees with each goal net. (If this were a match of American Football, I’d be dead center with the field goal).

Football is a funny sport in a number of ways. I noticed the game started without the dramatic flair of an American Football kickoff, which almost always includes rock and roll music and men run full-speed ahead. It started so quietly, that for a moment I wondered if this whole thing was a mistake. What if nothing happened and the whole game was this quiet? Wouldn’t that be the worst?

Yet it took only four minutes to see that things would not be boring. The US scored a goal, and Heinz Field erupted in such an uproar that a cheap microphone, like the one found in your phone, would likely record nothing but white noise. I found myself so overfilled with joy that I was laughing after the first, and every subsequent goal. I would scream, clap, and when I looked around and saw the celebration around me, I could do nothing but laugh at how amazing it was.

There were a lot of daughters in attendance, and the hashtag #SheBelieves was all over Heinz Field. It was inspiring thing, and it occurred to me that some of these young girls were more than fans, but looking up to the USWNT and dreaming of sharing in their success. (This environment contrasted with that of the Benedum Center, showing the musical production of Cinderella. Lots of young girls were in their own Cinderella dresses in 90 degree weather, and none looked as happy as those at Heinz field).

To my left sat a Nationalized Irishman and his daughter. He was teaching her all about the strategy of passing. “You almost never want to run the ball by yourself. You always want to move it to an open team mate.” While he meant to teach his daughter, I couldn’t help but listen and learn from him too. I learned to look at the US players as potential passes. I looked at the woman in possession of the ball, and spotted her team mates and tried to predict where the ball would go. Corner kicks also became a strategic guessing game, trying to envision where the ball would go, and who would try to headbutt it into the goal.

54 minutes into the match, Pittsburgh native Meghan Klingenberg scored a goal. It was during this celebration that the fans of Heinz Field proved they could turn up their volume from 10 to 11. We were already freaking out about the score becoming 7-0, and just as the volume was starting to come down, Klingenberg grabbed a Terrible Towl. You have this Pittsburgh native waving the ultimate symbol of Pittsburgh sports in celebration, and the result is apocalyptic noise.

The final score was 8-0, and it was a blast. I guess the next big thing that matters is the Summer Olympics, in which case, I’ll be tuning in to watch.

Magical Sleep.
The last thing I want to talk about happened today. It was a feverish stream of chain-dreaming. Where dream after dream, distinct from one another, keeps happening. I wake up, nod off to sleep again, and the memory of waking up becomes distorted, twisted into a dream whose premise is that waking up never happened.

A dream can start with me walking through England at night with my friend Naomi, then I wake up and fall back asleep. Now I’m in a house being torn apart by strong winds and rain with my friend Innes. What makes this all strange is that the premise of being in this house begins with me waking up in this house, thinking that bein awake in my bedroom was the dream. It has to be a symptom of not escaping REM. I wake up but my brain has the capacity to invent dreams still.

The feeling is like being under a spell. I don’t know how else to describe it. It makes no sense, it sounds like the talk of a crazy person, but that’s dreaming for you. Try not to think about it too much, just wake up and realize that, while fun, it’s best not to let yourself fall back asleep.

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