Just in case you missed it and as far as I and the Rose Bowl crowd were concerned you most likely did, the US national soccer team played a game this past weekend. It was the Gold Cup final and after the World Cup was probably the most important game in the United States’ calendar. Having gone to the World Cup last year, me and my Cup travel compadres Paul Raymore and Pete Blanchard (except Dan Hurley) decided to head down to LA and support our team. Let the music begin!
Soccer is known as the sport of the world we live in. It defines cultures, creates dreams, starts riots and introduces mayhem. That’s why I love it. So, why not head down to a sold-out final between Mexico and the United States? Besides, it’s a home game! We headed to Pasadena, checked into a cracked out, possible whorehouse hotel, cracked some beers, sipped some Gentlemen Jack, threw on our red, white and blue and professed our patronage to our team. We had heard the rumors of El Tri, the tri-colored army that supported the Mexican squad, but we were at the World Cup, goddamn it! There were tons of US fans there and we stuck together, we sang, we cheered, we blew our vuvuzuelas, we had pride in our homeland. Seriously, take a look around. We got it made here in the USA, cheap gas, cheap weed, cars for everyone, barbecues, Rock and Roll!
All I heard was fuckin’ Polka music. All I saw was green. All I felt was embarrassment. All I tasted were those nasty bacon wrapped hot dogs that lined the walkway from the golf course to the Rose Bowl. What happened to the taco trucks that I was promised? Where were my pastor tacos, my buche burritos? We were engulfed, like a filet mignon in a lion’s den. From the moment we hit the streets with our proud colors the horns started blaring, “fuck you”, “fuck America”, “you suck”, “go home gringo”. I have never seen so many grown men get my attention only to thrown jerk off hand signals my way. We had nothing. They even made fun of my buddy’s 5-year old son.
I held on tight though. I am proud of who I am. I grabbed the USA bandana that Pete gave me and swung it in the air. Every chance I got I gave a “USA, USA!” cheer. Keep in mind, we haven’t even gotten inside the venue yet. It was mayhem. We walked in. They said the vuvuzuela was banned for game day yet every member of El Tri had a smaller more compact and annoyingly noisy version. The harassment continued. A Mexi fan yelled some unpleasantries about the USA my way. I waved the flag, he punched me in the stomach. Damn, it’s good to be home. In the sold-out crowd of almost 94,000 people every seventieth person was supporting the US. It was tough. I decided I needed a $10 Bud Light. What can be more patriotic than a Bud?… Except for the fact that there was a Mexican soccer player on the Bud Light banner. We walked into the stadium. What a sight! A jammed packed crowd, loud, obnoxious, flags waving back and forth, sombreros, blaring sun, clearly futbol not soccer.
They played the national anthem. I think ours was booed. We were surrounded by a sea of green. Eight minutes in, a USA corner kick, a header by Bradley, Goooooaaalll, USA!!! The stadium went silent. I raised the flag to begin a USA chant. Punch number two connects with my stomach as I am told to shut up in Spanish. I retort by saying that the Mexican team must have drank some of our tap water. The game continues. A few minutes later a great pass from Dempsey to Donovan …. Goooooaaallll! USA is actually up 2-0. I take a short walk to get out of the blaring sun when I am grabbed and yanked by my camera strap as punch number three connects with my same damn stomach! What a bunch of sore losers. For the first time all day, El Tri has taken a seat, they stopped yelling “Puto!” in unison every time our goalie, Tim Howard touched the ball. We all thought the game was ours for the taking. The music had finally stopped. I couldn’t even hear the polka.
Five minutes later the Mexican team connected for their first goal, then their second, then their third, then the fourth. The taunting got worse, we had blown the lead, the game, the tournament. It was really that fast, that pathetic, that heartbreaking. The game came to a close. As bummed out by the outcome as I was I had to give it up for the Mexican team. They stuck in the game and showed the US team why most of their fans should be watching baseball this time of year.
As we left the Rose Bowl we were bombarded by a variety of responses. While every so often a kind supporter of the Mexican team would come and say, “sorry about the loss, it was a great game”, many of the the fans continued there verbal and gestural onslaught of Pete and I. They would drive up next to us as we walked and give us the finger or yell at us from their open windows. It felt like 2nd grade all over again. It really wasn’t until I crawled into that comfy bed in the crack den that the music finally stopped. Do us a favor, the US national team needs some love, they need some fans. International soccer matches are about the most amazing sporting event you can check out. Next time the US is playing in your town, buy a ticket, thrown on a blue jersey, drink heavily and support your country. We want you!
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This week in Tahoe area music:
06/30/11- 7/3/11 High Sierra Music Festival
07/2/11- 7/3/11 Mountain Vibe Music Gathering – Shinneyboo Resort – Donner Summit
Truckee Thursday – Buster Blue – Truckee, CA Free
Guy Clark Jr – Crystal Bay Club 9pm Free
Cadillacs – Pastime Club – Truckee, CA
E-40 – Kitting Factory Reno, NV 8pm $24
Super Diamond – Crystal Bay Club 9pm $20-23
Dead Winter Carpenters – Village at Northstar (Bluegrass Festival) 3pm
Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band w/ after party Groove Session – Crystal Bay Club 8pm
Tracorum – Alpine Meadows Ski Lodge 12pm Free
Neko Case – Kitting Factory Reno, NV 8pm $25-50