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