We took the boys and Fiona to the Meadowlands to see the English national soccer team play to Colombian team. England won 3-2. We sat on the English side, mostly Manchester United fans, from the look of their shirts. As it was 4 PM on a Tuesday afternoon, the traditional soccer-match bedlam traditional among Europeans was kept to a minimum.
Jack is such a big sports fan; he gets SO involved in the game. I was sitting next to him, and I could hear him muttering a play-by-play to himself, “a pass, maybe they’re going to score, no, it was blocked, a good save by the goalie …” All he lacked was a loud “G OOOO AL” when England scored to sound like the TV commentators.
Owen, on the other hand, was more concerned about when he was going to get his snack, and what he might get for a souvenier. “Mr. Memory,” Owen, recalled the last time we went to a professional soccer game (April 2004, when we saw the MetroStars and saw Freddy Adu score his first professional goal). He immediately remembered that on that occasion, he wanted to get a “trumpet” (the horns that fans traditionally blow during the game), but that they were sold out. So, that solved that problem. Jack and Owen got red plastic trumpets to cheer with.
There seems to be some hope for Owen as a soccer fan (after all, he’s only four). He took interest in watching the scoreboard and was able to identify the “E” for England and the “C” for Colombia and read off the score — repeatedly. He was also intrigued that the best player for England yesterday was a guy name Michael OWEN (#10 above), who scored all three England goals. (Today, I went online and got Owen an English national team jersey with Owen’s name on it that he can wear to soccer camp; maybe it will inspire him.)
Jack decided that he would especially cheer for David Beckham (see below right, in photo with the Colombian player). Personally, I found Beckham underwhelming … I thought he did a lot of standing around in his snazzy silver cleats. (Perhaps it’s all the fancy living with Posh.) He did have an assist and did some “bends”, but Owen (the player, not the boy) really was the star of the game. I was struck by HOW MUCH BETTER the Europeans and South Americans are than the Americans … there’s just really no comparison. I was also struck by how much of the game takes place at knee level or higher. If Jack wants to be a soccer player as part of his “year-round Sports Guy” future, he’s going to have to start working on his headers.
Fiona just enjoyed being around people. She drew quite a lot of attention … when the guy next to me sat down, he looked at her and said to her, “I can tell I’m going to have a hard time watching the game when I can look at you.” He might have felt differently when she lunged at his chocolate chip cookie in an effort to shove it in her mouth.