Thursday night, 8:45ish – I journey over to Target in Seekonk to pick up some Honey Toasted O’s (Target’s answer to a certain honey nut cereal) and soda for the trip. Being true to my “never wanna grow up” psyche, I walk over to the toys/kids aisle, where I find a beautiful silver MLS Cup Winner’s replica ball.
I think about whether it’s worth it to pick it up before the game, for fear of a jinx. It’s really a beautiful ball, and heck? I could use another to kick around the house during the offseason…right? I decide not to…for at least tonight.
Friday night, 8:45ish again – I pick up some very last minute items for tomorrow’s trip, and walk over to see the Winner’s ball again. There are two of them this time.
“C’mon”, says inner self, “pick one up for the trip so when they win it, you’ll already have the ball set to celebrate.” But the potential for a hex once again enters my mind. I firmly decide to buy it first thing on Monday – because the Revs will win it all on Sunday.
8:00am – I wake up and do my usual abbreviated early morning routine. Eat cereal. Shower. Get dressed. Yes, it’s a fabulous life.
8:23am – I call my buddy Mario, who just attended his first soccer game last Thursday – the Eastern Conference Championship at Gillette. Prior to that match, he had negotiated his way out of attending any soccer game, much to my constant frustration. But because I accompanied him to a Halloween party in full costume (I was a 1970’s cop, a la Starsky & Hutch), he offered to come with me to the next Revolution game. He held his end of the bargain, and had a great time. Now he’s coming with me to MLS Cup. What a lucky friend he is!
– Pick up Mario. First thing he asks, “Can we stop by a Mickey D’s?” ARGH!
9: Arrive in the P1 parking lot at Gillette Stadium. I allow Mario to take my car down the street to pick up his desired fat-laced fast food breakfast. I head to the Pro Shop to get some kits customized.
9:20am –The young lady at the Pro Shop tells me that the approximate wait for the jerseys to be customized is about half an hour. Talk about cutting it close. I risk it, and quickly hand over my jerseys (yeah, as if that’ll cut down thirty seconds on the wait time), hoping to have them finished before the bus departs.
– Hoping that she lied to me, and that the customization process is really is quicker than 30 minutes, I run the equivalent of a 100 yard dash from the lot to the Pro Shop doors and check on the progress. One’s done, says another Pro Shopper. The other’s about five minutes from being done…
Six minutes later, I check again, still a few minutes away. Dammit, I’ll just take the one that’s done, which happens to be the white Ralston jersey. The 2005 navy jersey, to which I requested Clint Dempsey’s name and number, isn’t done, and I tell the guy that I’ll pick it up on Monday. If I were more superstitious than I already am, I’d be concerned - the navy jersey was the one I wore while watching the US Open Cup Final, which the Revs finally broke their Championship curse to win, 3-2, over FC Dallas.
Check in to the bus. Lucky for me, there’s one seat near the rear, while Mario takes a backseat – literally –as we’re the last two passengers on the bus. What a surprise!
10: – Bus departs the lot, and the discussions begin:
-10:38ish – I misplaced my notepad, so I’m looking like fluffin’ Paris Hilton going through her pocketbooks looking for Sidekick. This is troubling – not that I cannot find my pad, but that I have just compared myself to Paris Hilton.
11:16am – So you know that scene in Shawshank Redemption where Red, en route to Zihuatanejo to meet up with Andy, is peering out the window of the bus with the sun kissing his smiling, hopeful face? Yeah, the scene on the bus right now is nothing like that. The bus is jam packed with Revolution supporters. But I have no complaints…after all, it’s a free ride, and I’m in good company.
– Finally hit traffic somewhere in
– First stop at a rest area somewhere in
– Pass through
– Another stop, this time somewhere in
– Back on the bus.
– A fellow Revs fan to my right, Nelson, asks if I’m keeping a journal. I tell him I am, and he asks me not to mention his devotion to the Hartford Whalers, or the time he bought a Whalers jersey, and had it customized with Brendan Shanahan’s name and number, only for the right winger to skip out of town soon after. Don’t worry, Nelson, you’re secret’s safe with me. I won’t tell anyone.
– Lots of reading my recently-purchase issues of FourFourTwo, Sports Illustrated, listening to a CD, and a halfhearted attempt at a nap. We pass through
– Bus arrives at the
– Mario and I discuss the password for picking up the tickets, to which he has a field day trying to guess.
– Reservation confirmed, tickets waiting in an envelope with “Brian O’Connell” on it. No password necessary, much to Mario’s frustration.
– Check into our room. Mario does his thing and jumps on the bed like a sugar-laced kid. Unfortunately, this has somehow morphed into a tradition, which began two years ago in
8: – After settling in I start typing away at the laptop while Mario watches Titanic on TBS. He cries…ok, maybe he doesn’t, but the premise would have been hilarious to me.
– Head downstairs to ask some at the front desk to see what they’ve got as far as restaurants in the neighborhood….
-…at least that was my intention twenty-three minutes ago…ok, now we’re going downstairs.
– Crap. I can’t find my digital camera, which I could have sworn was sighted when we first checked in. Go fluffin’ figure. I know it’s around…I think. If not, it’s on the bus. I hope. Just what I don’t need to worry about while I’m down here…and, no we still haven’t exited our room for supper.
9:02pm – We finally motivate ourselves to actually go downstairs to the lobby, before running into a guy in the elevator who says he’s from Minnesota. He asks us where we’re from, and we say “
“Oh yeah? Where’s that?”
The he recommends a pub a few blocks down the street. In all honesty, I question the wisdom of a guy who doesn’t even know where RI is. Mario, a chap more inclined to forgive such ignorance, takes his advice, and suggests we go there.
– We decide to walk about three blocks down the street to Crystal City Sports Pub. Looks like a lot of Revs fans took similar advice, as the place was filled ladies and gents in navy, red and white. Unfortunately, we are seated next to some thirty something
10:00pmish – A Revolution chant sparks up, and the Clemson fans next to us make a stupid comment about how American football is “the real football.” Yeah, ok dude, next time you make a comment like that, keep it to the privacy of your mom’s basement. Loser.
– Head back to the hotel knowing we have to wake up pretty damn early to catch the bus at . Mario’s fascinated with a show on ants, while I type away here on the bed and watch highlights of the RIC Anchorwomen 2007 season in between thoughts.
– Bedtime. We’ve got an early morning filled with expensive breakfasts, packing up shop, jumping back on the bus, and attempting to locate my camera. Goodnight!
– Wake up call three minutes late. I’m exhausted. Around in the morning, I was awakened by a rowdy party a few rooms down the hall. A part of me wanted to just put on my glasses, show up in my boxers, and party with ‘em, but I didn’t wanna miss the bus in the morning. In short, I got about three hours of sleep. By the time the wake up call comes, I’m exhausted. I soooo don’t wanna get outta bed, but I figure I must set the tone to be early…or at least on time.
8:29am – Head downstairs for breakfast…after showering, getting dressed, packing my bags, watching 15 minutes of SportsCenter, trying to find a CD, picking up the remnants of my half-eaten bag of Chex Mix, and flooding the bathroom floor.
9:15am – I may have just had the worst cup of coffee I’ve ever spit out. I don’t know what it was, but my cohort suggests that there are too many beans, and thus, it is too strong. I suppose I’ve just grown so acclimated to the generic Dunkin Donuts coffee that true Colombian coffee is wretched. Anyway, we hop on the bus a short while afterward, and much to my delight, the bus driver found my camera. Fewf…that would have been an expensive item to replace around Christmas time.
9:40am – Bus departs for RFK.
– Arrive at RFK. Take the soccer ball over to the Midnight Riders pre-match party. I call Sean and Kevin to see where they’re at. Unfortunately, I’m unable to hook up with either one of them, so Mario and I make our way back to the bus, drop off the ball, and Mario, to my surprise and delight, asks to wear my spare navy Revolution jersey. The brainwashing is far ahead of schedule…hehehe.
11:31am – I’m unable to carry in the laptop with me, so the next time I check in will be after the match. I’m hoping I get to write about a fantastic win for the lads.
– Great…our seats are located nearly square inside the
Revs go up 1-0 on Twellman’s 20th minute goal. I look back toward the orange mass and pop my collarless Revolution jersey toward them in triumph. Fluff you, Dynamo!
Realizing the potential for a clash, Mario and I head over to the other side of the stadium, where we find three empty seats about six rows up from center circle. Unfortunately, we also have a great view of the two successive Dynamo goals, which clinch it once again for
I don’t wanna leave. There’s gotta be more football, right. Guys…? No, the season can’t be over…no…not like this, at least. It feels like I’ve just been sucker punched by Chuck Liddell...five consecutive times.
– Long and sad walk back to the bus, and then find a seat in the back. I can only imagine how the players are feeling right now. They’ve got to feel like “what the hell do we have to do to win this bloody thing?”
The faces on the kids are just like mine. Sad, just sad. It feels like a funeral. I plop down in the backseat, and just stare out the tinted bus windows. Ugh. I don’t usually cry after a loss, but this is the closest I think I’ve ever come. It’s tough to watch this type of misery unfold on TV – to witness it in person is exponentially worse. It gnaws at you; because you’ve invested so much personal effort into seeing them potentially win it this time. Alas, they weren’t able to. The Revs outdid
3: – Well, the bus is nowhere close to full, and I’m fluffin’ starving. I don’t know when this bus is taking off, but I hope it’s pretty damn soon. In the meantime, I make a meal out of a handful of Gummi Savers and Aquafina.
4: – Bus takes off from the RFK lot, and we’re back on the road to Foxboro. Although the somber air is beginning to thin, it’s still tough for me grasp the loss. We should have won this time. How many more chances will guys like Ralston, Heaps, Reis, and even Parky (who may be heading overseas to play English football in the near future) get at winning this Godforsaken championship? I feel much worse for them and the rest of the players more than anyone else.
Anyway, I’ll end the journal right there, as I need to doze off and catch some zzz’s. But before I conclude this piece, I just wanted to make a few observations:
After this experience, I absolutely look forward to future bus trips with Revs supporters next season. I had a blast on this little excursion down to DC, and met a lot of fellow fans, both young and old in the process. The common denominator of the Revolution made it incredibly easy to talk to absolute strangers, knowing that we’ve got something fantastic in common.
Lastly, after seeing so many chicks in Revolution shirts, I must say this: there are few things more appealing than a cute chick in a Revolution jersey. Forget the pink Sox tees, pink hats, or even pink Pats hoodies and jerseys; want to impress a lad like myself? Fix up a smile, sport a Revs jersey, and you’ll almost immediately attract my attention.
So, my goals for 2008:
- Attend more bus trips.
- Bring Mario (who, turns out, has warmed up to the sport) to more Revs games.
- Befriend more Revs fans.
- Do more tailgating.
- Buy a new camera, and take as many pics as possible in the presence of chicks in Revs kits.
See ya in ’08!