Unintentional Hiatus

This is a podcast where Gab and I talk women’s soccer just about every two weeks while — you got it — drinking. 

But we've both been reaching for water instead lately, for our own separate reasons. Mine is that I’m not in the proper headspace at the moment to be drinking. Drinking should be fun, and it usually is for me. I’ve had enough booze over the years to know my limits and how to stop before I get sick, but after I’ve loosened up. When I drink for fun, I get very affectionate and find almost everything amusing. I do a great Abby Wambach impression and a bad Australian one when I'm buzzed. It’s a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.

But shortly after Gab and I recorded our last episode, I spiraled into probably the worst depression of my life. 

Depression is not something I regularly struggle with, as far as I’m aware. I had a rough time in college, but since then I’ve been on a pretty even keel. But for whatever reason, I got booted off the edge of the precipice and into a very, very dark hole. 

During this time, I was incapable of feeling anything except an overwhelming hopelessness. Nothing interested me. Nothing made me feel anything else. I still functioned — woke up, brushed my teeth, did work, exercised, tried to eat right. It was all autopilot. If I smiled, it was a paper mask. I couldn’t sleep. Food was just fuel and all of it was unappetizing.

I made the mistake of drinking one night during this time. It didn’t make me feel better — I skipped right over the loosening-your-inhibitions stage of consuming a depressant and went right to the tired, sloppy stage. I talked to some good friends that night who were understanding and encouraging and didn’t judge me for having a hard time. They just offered their unwavering support, and it was enough. The next morning I woke up feeling like death had passed over my body and, after chugging a massive Gatorade, realized I couldn’t do something like that again. So: no more drinking for a bit, until I’m sure it’s something that I can enjoy again.

2 Drunk Fans is something that usually makes me happy. Gab and I would not have done it mostly for free for the past two years if we weren’t passionate about it and if it didn’t make us happy. It has been a healthy outlet for so much of my frustration and a repository for so much of my joy. It has made me friends and showed me the generosity of kind-hearted people and given me more confidence to pursue a creative career. But when I was depressed, happiness was an abstract concept that seemed too far away to ever be within my grasp again. I simply could not remember any other feeling but the hopelessness, and I couldn’t contemplate ever feeling any other way in the future.

So that’s where I’ve been for the past several weeks. Gab and I have different schedules that dictate when and how we can record the podcast, and right when we were in the usual window to record, I was being crushed under the weight of something I didn’t understand. I still don’t really understand the mechanics of it all; something something brain chemicals, which I’m sure is a statement that would drive my doctor friends up a wall. But my friends picked me up by both arms and sort of gently dragged me along until I got my feet under me, and now I am walking again.

We record soon. I’m looking forward to it. 

Here are some resources that are highly rated by Charity Navigator:

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Mental Health America

For LGBT youth: The Trevor Project

And find resources at MentalHealth.gov

Portland: Some of my favorite things

Hello all - Gab here. 

As a few of you will be coming to Portland, OR this week for the NWSL championship, I wanted to list out a few choice things to do while out here. 

First off - THE NIGHT BEFORE THE MATCH. Come to a party that the Rose City Riveters are hosting. Please RSVP here because they are trying to let the bar know how many people will be there. 2 Drunk Fans will do a live recording of our next episode, as well as be selling merch (scarves, shirts, stickers). 

Now, I don't want to be redundant, so if you're in town for JUST the match, kudos and check out the Rose City Riveters blog post that already gives you some logistics for the day, with a list of transportation, bars for before the match, logistics and whatnot. You can read that blog here: http://rosecityriveters.org/a-travel-guide-of-sorts/..

But!! There's more. So much more that my fair city can provide that some may not consider "family friendly" and I figure that since you may listen to our swearing and debauchery on a fairly regular basis, I'll provide a different kind of travel guide. 

For my favorite places, I've tried to classify them. But feel free to mix and match as you see fit. As always, shoot me any questions on tweeter (your best bet for a speedy response). Please note - these are all downtown, so if you're staying in the city, you won't need to worry about transportation. If you're on the east side, just hop on a bus into downtown and make a day of it.

Breakfast:

  • Mother's - legendary for long lines and delicious breakfast dishes. I am partial to the fritata, but it is best shared, unless your hotel / airbnb has a fridge. 
  • Bunk Bar Downtown - O.M.G. if you can only have one breakfast sandwich while in town, get the one they have. I recommend the bacon, egg, and cheese. Takes about 10 minutes to make, so if you are in a hurry, just call ahead. 
  • La Jarochita - if you follow me on tweeter, you've probably seen me post about the breakfast burrito. It is huge and delicious and that's what she said. You get a little form to fill out when you're placing your order, so get creative. Pick as many meats as you'd like. It's a flat price. *wink* They also do excellent dishes for anytime of day. Oh, did I mention that you can get the burrito anytime? Yep. 

Lunch:

  • Killer Burger - About a year ago I had one and then I had to take a sick day the next day and I was mad at them for a while, then I had one a few months ago and fell back in love. Huge burgers, don't be afraid to get a "girlie" sized, its a much more normal size and the perfect price. Also, don't get mad at me for calling it "girlie" as that's what they've labeled it. Oh, you can also get your day drink on. 
  • Luc Lac - This is a double dipper for both lunch and dinner. Excellent food, but, much like Mother's, always a line. ProTip - call in your order for pick-up and head to a park to enjoy it. I love the pho, but have had most of the items on the menu and it is all really good. Another good place to carry the day drinking into the evening, but, aware, lines.
  • 9th and Alder Cart Pod - in a group and no one knows what they want for lunch? GO HERE. There are about a billion carts and you can get it all. Literally. Grilled Cheese (order the Gabby), Hawaiian, Greek, fish & chips,Mexican (hi La Jarochita!),  mac & cheese (I just had this this week, YUM!),  the infamous chicken and rice at Nong's Khao Man Gai, and so much more. Last I checked there was even a popcorn cart, a donut/bagel cart, and so many noodle places. 
  • Kale - the ultimate Japanese comfort food. So fucking good. If it's rainy and you just want to warm up a little, go to here. 
  • Pizzacato - just want a slice? Maybe a salad as well? Hit up one of their locations for a killer lunch special. They have beers on tap too!

Happy Hour (yes, this is a huge thing here)

  • Departure - It's a little fancy, but not in a "bust out your pearls" sort of way. Just, buyer beware, this place isn't a dive. 
  • Portland City Grill - oh la la. Again, fancier than your average bar but you can't beat the views. A must-see for tourists.
  • Nel Centro - If it's a nice day, get there early and grab a seat on the paio!
  • Red Star Tavern - this one is easily in my top 5. My office is in the same building so you have to say accessibility is feeding into that. They have a great happy hour (both food and drinks) as well as some nice signature cocktails. 
  • Trader Vics - Not quite downtown (it's in The Pearl) but flaming bowls of alcohol. If you order them. And ask for the flame. They don't do that automatically. 
  • Life of Riley - good sports bar with games and such in the basement. Don't pay attention to the smell. It is the smell of clean.
  • Bailey's Taproom - Well, now we've ventured into beer bars, so this may take a while. Love this place, they don't have food, though. If you want food, talk to the bar keep about which places deliver (like the Mexican joint right across the street). 

 

Breweries (Beer / Cider + Food)

  • Deschutes - my favorite pour - Red Chair (seasonal).  My favorite regular - Mirror Pond. The pretzel is amazeballs, too. 
  • Bridgeport - the food here is better than most breweries. If you're into that sort of thing.
  • Rogue - go for the food. The bacon is fantastic.  
  • Lucky Lab - go for the beers. 
  • So many more, but these are the ones I go to most frequently. 

Dinner.. any of the above mentioned places are fantastic. Below is a short list of the rest I recommend. It's really hard to go wrong with food in Portland because bad places go out of style really fast. 

Other things to do while in town -- 

  • Greek Festival! - for that weekend only!!
  • Ground Kontrol - play arcade games & pinball for hours and hour and hours
  • Portland Pilots Women have a match on Saturday at 7pm. They play BYU. Always a fun crowd and they have a fun team this year. Do eeeet. 
  • There is also a Timbers match on Saturday. If you're interested in tickets, don't feed the scalpers. Come by the Fanladen (1633 SW Alder) about 3 hours before the match to see if there are tickets available at face value. Never feed the scalpers. 
  • Powell Lanes - on the east side, but by far the best bowling ally in town. Hit them up, I'm doing it almost weekly at this point. 

MUST SEE BAR -- everyone in town needs to plan a visit to Bazi into the mix. Bazi is a very unique bar owned by Hilda who has really supported the Thorns, the Riveters, AO throughout the World Cup this year, and I couldn't find the right spot to list them out on the above lists because they are just so special. They have a to die for burger on the menu called the BAON Burger. It's really excellent. Hilda will also put on any footy match, as requested. They are a Belgian beer bar, so come with your tastebuds ready to have a workout. You'll find a lot of Riveters memorabilia throughout, but be sure to check out the rafters. That's the 2013 Championship banner that Steph and I got from Rochester to Boston (via van) to Portland (via an amazingly shotty packing job and plane). I'm particularly proud that Hilda is displaying it so proudly. So, please go visit them and tell Hilda all about your woso joys.  

As for those of you are into a late night scene full of nudie girls, techno music, metal music, no cover charge, sometimes a cover charge, and really strong drinks, I give you the following list:

  • Metalesque - this company puts on great shows. The themes are always spot on. Don't be afraid, it's a good show! This is the type of thing that you go to, sit back, sip on a cocktail and relax. There is limited crowd participation (unless you're at a VIP table at the front) and no need to tip each dancer. They will probably pass a hat near the end of the show, so feel free to bring cash to tip the whole production. You can check out the promo video here: https://t.co/xrk3iVP00f
  • Kelly's Olympian - biker bar right downtown that is always a fun place to start the night. Strong drinks, big tap list, usually someone is on the stage late enough.
  • Mississippi Studios - if you venture over to the east side, check this place out. Generally the live shows are $10-15 and its a nice spot. They have a bar attached (BarBar) that does good drinks, has an outdoor patio, and is lovely. Great place to be even if you don't go to a show. 

Below is a list of strip clubs. Please be aware of the rules of going to a strip club: DO PLAN TO SPEND MONEY: not just on a bar tab. If you sit at the rail (right next to the stage), you need to tip at least $1 ($2 if you go to a bar that only provides $2 bills) for every song. If you don't like the song, get up and walk away, don't stay and not tip. Also, a tip is just the tip, feel free to tip more if the moment grabs you. Do not touch anyone who works at a strip club/bar. Ever. Remember that they make the big bucks via private dances, so they are going to be very flirtatious. Give in or not, but don't be disrespectful. If you offer to buy a dancer a drink, be ready to pony up for top shelf, because they're not ordering well or a tall boy.

  • Mary's Club - a must visit if you're staying downtown. Classic dive strip club that has a single stage and boasts some good talent. 
  • Kit Kat - not really sure how to describe this one. If you're downtown, stop by. It is so worth it. 
  • Sassy's - this is a dive. holes in the seats, sticky floors, but the dancers are 1000% energy. rock and roll and punk and you'll get dizzy. they have 3 stages so pick your poison. 
  • Devil's Point - if you're looking for the best time ever, hit this place up. A bit of a drive or taxi or uuber, but totally worth it. Sit at the bar, each dancer gets 2 songs, keep your seat if you can. My personal favorite
  • Casa Diablo - not going to link to this one, but will mention it. Very forward, very extreme with regard to female customers too. Sort of the far end of the comfort spectrum. Also, some bad press/pr recently about mistreatment of their dancers, so, buyer beware. This is the $2 place. It's vegan, if that's your jam.

Whew! I know I left out things like donuts (Blue Star over Voodoo any day) and coffee (there's no way I can pick a favorite) and farmers markets and walks and music and everything. You can google for all that.

This is just a list of a few of my favorite things.

See you at the big dance. 

Mia Fucking Hamm

By now you know that USSF hosted a fan event in Vancouver to hype up the traveling Americans who were there for USA vs. Nigeria. You also know that MIA FUCKING HAMM was there and led the crowd in an “I Believe” chant.

The tent covering the entrance to the Fan HQ venue.

The tent covering the entrance to the Fan HQ venue.

I’m one of those people who thinks that “I Believe” is incredibly overdone these days, but when Mia fucking Hamm walked out on that stage, I would have done the hokey pokey on command. I was three rows of people away from my childhood hero. I looked into Mia Hamm’s face and lived to tell the tale.

MIA FUCKING HAMM.

MIA FUCKING HAMM.

The rest of the party was by turns mildly cheesy and great fun. The DJ was a real booster who refused to let the energy drop. He did a very smart thing: at the beginning of the event, he played some fun songs for all the kids who were there, getting them to come up to the dance floor and jump around. They had fun for an hour and got to take pictures with their parents, and then they were done and it was time for the adults. He played some 90s hits, some rock ‘n roll, got the older crowd a bit feisty, and then brought out Mia Hamm to push everyone over into proper rowdiness. That’s when he hit the club beats. The party was just getting started around 11, which was when we left like the old fuddy duddies we are.

It was a pretty swank venue with tons of USSF imagery everywhere and big prints of the players on the walls. Drinks were reasonable (but not Canadian stadium reasonable-both Commonwealth and BC Place have been asking about a fiver for a domestic beer) and poutine was on offer. There were a few hundred people there having a good time. We saw Megan Rapinoe’s mom on the dance floor enjoying life to the fullest.

Not the worst night we’ve spent in Vancouver at all.

Short Jaunt to Winnipeg

Dear Diary --

Sorry I have been neglecting you. Between the travel, the vacation, and the matches, I have not had the opportunity to share my adventures with you. 

When we got to our house in Vancouver, I knew this would be a great home for our little WoSo fanatic family. We divided up the rooms, shared the passcodes, and got started shopping for the essentials, the booze. we loaded up our car with approximately $300 Canadian (their money is so colorful and bendy!!) and have been living happily ever after since!

The second day in the house was the opening day for the USWNT as well as our first matches at BC Place. We had overlapping matches, so everyone decided to watch the USWNT from a bar near BC Place so we could head over and catch the Japan-Swiss match live. This was all fine and well, except the bar we chose to stay at subbed in a taller bartender so I was constantly moving from one side to the other trying to look around his vertical hairdo. I knew it would get better, though. 

Once inside BC Place, it was better organized than in Edmonton. Not sure if this is a result of 50% fewer people or that BC Place felt more set up for an event like this. There were shopping areas, not just stands selling items. Inside the shopping areas you could go in and actually feel the items. I acquired a couple of Canada 2015 summer scarves to add to my forever growing scarf collection. I might go back for a shirt, I might not. I didn't see any that I absolutely had to have. 

The Japan-Swiss match was interesting to watch because I felt underwhelmed watching Japan. Sure, their possession was fantastic, but I was just expecting *more* from the defending champions. But, I suppose I should have checked my expectations at the gate with my bottle of water as there are a lot of new players on the squad and they aren't the showboating type. Our seats are pretty bomb, though. I'm so excited that these are our seats through the rest of the matches. 

The next couple of days were your standard lazy vacation days, full of hours and hours of sitting on the sofa watching footy, walking around the city looking at the sites, and general relaxing.

On Wednesday, I woke up early for a flight to the middle of Canada. I got to the airport with plenty of time and noticed a few things going through security. #1 - Americans automatically take our shoes off at the security check point. Canada security does not require this, yet no one corrects you to tell you no. I think it is polite, or something. With all the flying that he does, I would think Grant Wahl would savor the saved 2 minutes of keeping your shoes on, but I think he is probably on autopilot when in airports. Needless to say, he was on my flight to Winnipeg. 

When I got there, I was slapped in the face by HEAT. I don't like heat, I find it uncomfortable and clammy. I knew I just needed to hop on 2 buses to get to the bar to meet up with the American Outlaws, so $2.65 was all it cost me to get all the way across town! My mother would be so proud. 

The bar got packed. Apparently the bar was packed on Sunday night too and overwhelmed the staff so this time the management was keeping a close watch on the headcount. By the time we left the bar, there were quite a few Outlaws standing in line outside to get in. 

Getting to the match the next day was interesting. Between a car accident diverting traffic and road construction limiting the number of lanes, we arrived at Winnipeg Stadium. Parking cost $20 and we were eating our homemade sandwiches out of the trunk of the car. The parking lot and most of the early entry were fans dressed up in red, white and blue. I went into the stadium early so I could watch it fill up, but quickly regretted it when I realized that means I would be standing in the sun for an extra 2 hours. Thanks for the SPF 50, Danielle!!

The beer situation in Winnipeg was a step above Edmonton, but I still haven't had a sippy cup lid. I enjoyed quite a few Budweisers and even had a couple of ice cream cones during the break between matches. We had a nice little section set aside in 141 among the American Outlaws. This is the only match I was watching with them, so I tried to soak it all up. There are a few things that they tried to do right, with capos and with white boards and getting chants going, but then there are just so many elements that are different for each of the chapters that it really shifts the focus from the match to "oh my, what is going to happen next in the crowd?" 

Security never came over and told the American Outlaws to sit, like they did with the Voyagers in Edmonton. But there was a lot of awareness about swearing. At one point, an Outlaw stood up on his seat and tried to get a chant going that was full of swear words. The capos didn't join him, but I think it is safe to say he got enough support with the chant that it was heard loud and clear. Better communication about the do's and don'ts in the stadiums will probably help the crowd self police in the future. It must be hard to herd so many cats from all over the country with their own, independent ideas of what being a supporter is.

After the match, after waiting another 90 minutes to get the cars out of the parking lot, we had dinner at Applebees. Because that's how American we are, damnit.

-Gab

Vancouver: Settling In

Edmonton was ultimately a waystation in my Canadian odyssey - exciting, to be true, but temporary. I left Edmonton early in the morning, willing to give up on some sleep in exchange for a ride to the airport from friends who were also in town for the opening game.

The flight to Vancouver was short and easy and I landed just in time to be able to watch the first half of Germany and Cote D’Ivoire, then realized in the middle of that shitshow that I had completely forgotten to get my suitcase from baggage claim. It was waiting for me all by its lonesome, tagged like a wayward child at security.

The house I’m staying in with Gab and a small posse of other woso fans is in suburban Vancouver, just off the Canada Line in a quiet neighborhood. It’s tranquil now but we expect it to fill up starting when the United States plays Nigeria at BC Place and through the final. I’m mostly used to living with big groups—in Boston I live in a ramshackle house with five roommates and five cats—so this has been par for the course for me.

Our first live game was Japan vs. Switzerland on Monday. BC Place is an excellent venue and on that day the roof was open to let in the fresh air and sunshine. Japan was a pleasure to watch play up close; their first touch is impeccable. We had the honor of seeing Homare Sawa in her 200th cap and spotted a familiar face in the crowd: none other than Seattle Reign coach Laura Harvey. Most of our focus was on the game instead of her where she was sitting behind us, but I did end up trying for a few subtle just-stretching-my-neck-totally-not-looking-behind-me moves.

japanhuddle

 

We also managed a small-sided game in the park close to our house, playing with an all-time center mid because of our odd numbers. I had a fantastic goal, a cutback and quick shot off my weak foot, but it was disallowed for supposedly being over knee height. I am absolutely certain it was within bounds and the ref robbed me blind. Clearly the only solution is to play again and this time, to demolish the other team without question.

We’ve been here nearly a week and the days are already starting to blend together, distinguished only by which teams are playing. It’s an idyllic, leisurely life, one that took years of planning and a fair bit of saving to execute. All the fretting and logistics were worth it though, for an entire blissful month of nothing but World Cup soccer.

- thrace

 

Opening day

I worked a full week before heading to Canada. I thought it would be for the best. After all, it’s only 2 hours of flying and I’m not evening leaving my time zone!! Little did I know that I was going to be battling some awesome allergies, rushing to get some work items squared away, and  switching ahead 1 time zone! Edmonton is Mountain Time!! Always learning.

Anyway, after some shock and awe about the situation I put myself in, I headed out to PDX to go from PDX to SEA to YEG, all on Alaska Airlines (cha-ching miles!). Nothing notable on the flights, except the last leg running about an hour late. I got in late but it was a breeze to pass through customs in Edmonton. Very nice guy, though he thought I was an athlete and perhaps participating in the tournament. I had a good chuckle and let him know I was just a spectator. This concerned him. 

  • “How do you plan to support yourself while in Edmonton?”
  • “Well, this is my vacation so I have it taken care of.”
  • “Are you going to be getting a job while in Canada?”
  • “No, I don’t plan on it. I’m only here for 31 days and I have had a job for 10 years and this is my first long vacation.”
  • “Okay, I’m just concerned that you will take one of our Canadian jobs.” 

Okay… thanks Dad. I promise I’ll be okay. I promise. It didn’t help when I told him my whole itinerary, either. Oh well. He let me pass and suddenly I was legal in Canadaland! 

My good friend, Ang, who is also a friend of the podcast, was able to swing by the airport around 1:30am to get me. (She is driving all over Canada hitting up as many matches as possible with a couple of friends. I’ll be seeing her again in Winnipeg and VanCity.) We rolled toward the hotel we were all staying and I was in my room by 2:30am. I didn’t hit the hay, though. No way, that would be too easy. Instead my body decided I wasn’t excited enough and thought a little nausea would get me match fit for the opener. My body likes to goof off from time to time. 

Anywho… the next morning I woke up to a rather chipper Thrace hustling around the room getting ready to meet CJ for brunch. I was being a crybaby about still not feeling well. Eventually I made it to breakfast and met up with Ang again. We made plans for the day that included watching the UEFA CL Final at a bar across the street from Commonwealth Stadium. 

We got there around 12:15(isn) and it was already packed. We snagged the last 4 top table and got settled in. We knew the gates to the stadium opened at 2pm, so we had plenty of time. Or at least we did until the place got packed and the waitress forgot our order and now I had 2 pitchers of Budweiser or Molson in front of me. Oh well, bottom’s up!

We met up with some people from New Zealand who were staying near the stadium. Minutes before we head over to the stadium, I decide it’s time to put in my contacts. So, I head to the bathroom at bar and get started. I thought I followed a woman into the bathroom so I didn’t pay attention to the sign on the door. Went in. Got all set up to put small pieces of plastic in my eyes, and then noticed urinals and promptly exited. Whew. That could have been embarrassing. 

Next. The ticket saga. So, Thrace and I ordered tickets through the Canadian NT SG, The Voyageurs. They sent the tickets out last week, but were worried that the postage they put on the tickets would not get them to us in time so they canceled the tickets and emailed us PDFs of our new tickets. No big deal. Except I’m an idiot who grabbed the canceled ticket when packing in the morning, completely bypassing the printout that was also in the envelope. Whoops. Thank god for technology and the patient volunteers in Edmonton for letting me in the gates.

Inside the stadium, it was packed and hot and fun and fantastic. The Voyageurs marched to the stadium and arrived about 20 minutes before kick, with flags and drums and the whole nine yards. There was a short concert with a few random Canadians (I might have freaked out a little) and then we heard the soundtrack. The FIFA anthem. And I got a little misty. 

Canada vs China was fun to watch with the home nation’s supporters. It was hot. It was loud. Concession weren’t expensive. I was exhausted by the end of the first match. That late penalty helped a bit (understatement of the year) and I’m so happy I’m making this trip. 

- Gab

World Cup Journey: Boston to Edmonton and Opening Day

It’s hard to describe my excitement for the beginning of the 2015 Women’s World Cup. I’ve been planning for this tournament ever since Canada was announced as the winning bid in early 2011. The week leading up to my flight to Edmonton was like waiting to meet someone in person I’d been dating online for four years. Would I end up getting catfished or would it be the greatest moment of my life?

I left home at 4:30 in the morning to make a 6 AM flight. Most of that flight and the one connecting Minneapolis to Edmonton I spent in a dozy haze, alternately nodding off and jerking back up when my neck developed too much of a crick.

In Edmonton I muddled my way through a combination of public transportation and taxis to get to the hotel I was sharing with Gab. I contemplated taking a nap; my body was nearly running on empty but my mind was screaming in anticipation. I chugged caffeine instead, met up with a friend for dinner, and passed out that night thinking that it still didn’t feel real.

It only felt real when I was actually at Commonwealth Stadium, watching a stream of red-and-white jerseys flowing into the entrances. I’d had brunch and drinks earlier with a bunch of Canadians before getting to the stadium early and having another drink or four at a nearby pub. We found our seats feeling pretty jolly about life, with our face paint and our sunscreen and our shockingly not overpriced beers. I was in the supporter’s section, sitting with the Voyageurs. For opening day of the World Cup in Canada, there was nowhere better to sit.

The opening ceremony was ten minutes start to finish, with little fanfare before Sarah McLachlan marched out, stepped up on a small round stage, crooned a song, then threw it to Tegan & Sara. Both twins were wearing asymmetrical baggy jumpsuits that are otherwise hard to describe without a fashion background, but they gave a game performance while a small army of girls danced around them. The flagbearers came out, fireworks went off, and we passed a giant tifo overhead to wave in our end of the stadium.

The game itself, you’ve already read all about.  The best part was obviously Christine Sinclair’s penalty kick; the stands around us went wild when she scored.  The stadium went wild. Canada went wild. I’m sure maple leaves across the country spontaneously turned red.

We stuck around for the second game, Netherlands vs. New Zealand. There was a cheerful and mildly rowdy group of Kiwi supporters behind us, with pockets of Dutch fans scattered around the stadium in blobs of orange. By this time I’d been standing in direct sunlight for about three hours and hadn’t really had enough water combined with really having too much beer. Like some kind of rookie, I hadn’t brought any medication with me, but luckily Sarah Groube of The Womens Game came to my rescue at dinner with two beautiful tabs of ibuprofen.

Dinner with a bunch of likeminded women who are all deeply knowledgeable fans of the game was the cherry on top of a great day. They were playing highlights of the Canada/China game over and over at our pub and every time we’d stop, turn around, and watch that beautifully placed penalty kick. My headache receded. I ate with gusto. I loved everyone in that bar.

Back at the hotel, I made a valiant attempt to catch up on social media. After going back 600+ tweets I resigned myself to just never knowing what my twitter feed thought of the game in real time and passed out. I had an early start the next day

- thrace