I wanted to attend Tuesday night's Revolution-RailHawks US Open Cup semi-final match. I really did. I even printed out the directions, escaped my work-release assignment two hours early, and fueled up my gas-guzzling Acura.
Then, less than two miles after my car screeched out of the driveway, I hit traffic on 195-W in East Providence. As soon as I nearly rear-ended the Ford Escort stopping short in front of me for the third time, I had an epiphany.
"Do you really want to sit in traffic for the estimated two-plus hours that the travel provided by the oracle known as Mapquest?"
Amid the three-mile parking lot in front of me and the taunt of the pulsating colon between the four and the thirty-seven on the dashboard digital clock, a corresponding thought began sneak into my cerebral cortex. I clutched the eleven o’clock and one o’clock positions of my steering wheel, and fell deep in thought.
"Hey, you know what would be alot easier? Chuck the directions, hit the next exit, and sail your way to the alma mater to catch the women's game over there. It's free soccer, man, and you'll save yourself half a tank of gas. Plus, you'll get back home in time for dinner."
These voices, I tell you. Sometimes you just have to heed them. So I did.
With a brown paper-bagged ham sandwich, a cold, sweating bottle of spring water, and the crisply folded directions sitting on my passenger's seat like a paper-mache crane, I crawled through ten more minutes of traffic before finally hovering down the Killingly Street off ramp, with a mere two miles of high quality, no frills roadway between my 2001 Acura CL and the RIC Soccer Field.
Less than seven minutes later, I slammed the driver's side door behind me in the Fogarty Life Science Lot and made a break for the gated entrance of the field sixty yards in front of me. Upon my arrival, I strolled along the bottom rung of the no-frills metal bleachers and looked up to locate a suitable vantage point. About ten rows high, and fifteen yards to the left of center circle, I put down my water, and leaned my elbows back on the aluminum benched row behind me.
Then, I took an elongated sigh. It was the exhalation of accomplishment, with a magnificent view before me, as the late-afternoon sun began to drench my exposed forearms and shins.
And what an entertaining match! The home team played with a precision and awareness of a SWAT team. They flustered the blue and gold Johnson & Wales University opponent with constant pressure and amazingly scored only four goals despite the fact they fired an eye-popping 22 shots on goal.
But as the final quarter-hour of the match began to dwindle, I conversed with a group of incoming freshman sitting only a few rows above me. Ah, youth. They asked about the best places to get sushi, and where to go in Providence, all the while I answered their questions as my head swiveled back and forth between their fresh faces and the ball on the pitch.
After the final whistle had blown, I walked out of the stadium not only with a smile on my face, but with a few new friends. Not for one moment did I regret missing the Revs-RailHawks match. Yes, it was an important game, but one I'll just have to admit I bypassed for something more feasible...more accessible...and, to be frank, more fun.
If I had driven another 97 miles west with 100 minutes minimum of seat time, parked my car, waited in line for $17.00 tickets to watch soccer on a high school football field, and had to do same thing all over again (save for purchasing tickets a second time, obviously), I would have been teetering on borderline mental instability. I would have arrived home late with an early wake-up call for work the following morning, grumpy, and sucking down iced coffees by the tray load in order to overcome the effects of sleep deprivation.
Like I said, these voices...sometimes you just have to listen to them.