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.
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.