MatchDay Memory–What I This Summer 2012
This summer was one of the hottest on record for the state of Michigan. Weeks of 90+ degree heat scorched the ground and caused air conditioning units to be run non stop. Fortunately there was plenty of footy on TV so that people could stay inside or head to their local pub or restaurant and watch in order to stay cool. Euro 2012 led into the MLS halfway point and the World Football Challenge before concluding with the Olympics Football Tournament.
In an ambitious effort to get involved with the European Championships, I followed the draw, game by game, to determine which kit would win Euro 2012 based on my tastes. Here is a summary of my predictions and my reactions to the kits worn during the tournament. As for the games themselves, the entire three week championship was highly entertaining, producing plenty of goals (only one 0-0 draw in the entire tournament if I remember correctly), amazing performances (Russia in their opener, England against Sweden, and Italy against Germany in the semis), and a historic final in which La Furia Roja became the first team to win three major tournaments in a row. I was able to watch the match at the George and Dragon in Seattle and had an awesome time. Found an interesting post in the aftermatch of the Final, with Michael Elkon writing an interesting piece for SB Nation Atlanta about ESPN’s coverage of the European Championships, going so far as to ask Bristol to cover American College Football like a major soccer tournament. Well worth the read.
I had an amazing trip to the Pacific Northwest. First real vacation I can think of since the 2003 Manchester United Tour and certainly the most relaxing. Everyone asked did you see the mountains? I saw them, off in the distance, but wanted no part of a hike. Got up each morning, watched a little TV (Tosh.0, Workaholics, Wimbledon) and then spent some time writing and researching for the blog. After a bite to eat, did some reading and then went out and either watched a game or went to a bunch of bars or both. Wash, rinse, repeat. My experiences at the MLS games in Portland and Seattle were first rate and I plan to either go back or visit other MLS venues (or both) in the future.
However, after some time of reflection, I am not sure that I could sit in the supporters sections every game. I like to watch and see what’s going on, figuring out formations, key matchups, build ups for goals. That’s hard to do when you’re trying to keep up with the chants or waving your scarf and or having flags obstructing your view. For instance, during the Seattle game, banners and flags blocked portions of my view throughout the game, and when Colorado scored, no one had any idea. Great atmosphere, great experience, but maybe sit in the supporters section and then go home and watch the match for the tactics and nerdier aspects of the game.
As for my actual time on the pitch, I played in a coed indoor league, which was ridiculously hot. Our over 30 team had an unbeaten first half of the season, destroying teams consistently, but we drew one game and didn’t create the necessary breathing space to win the league comfortably. We participated again the State Cup, but our first game was scheduled the weekend after the Fourth of July, so many of our players, including myself, were on vacation. The other guy who runs the team was able to put a team together and the lads performed admirably until the wheels fell off in the second half and we lost 4-1. Maybe next year.
Other than that, I listened to a ton of podcasts, which I tried to summarize throughout the summer, and read as much as I could. I reread Fever Pitch in the late spring and then moved to Calcio by John Foot. It was a very informative read on the beginnings of organized Italian football and the transition of power from Bologna and Genoa to the big three. I didn’t realize Roman teams had not been very successful. The author went out to pick out key players throughout the history of the league before moving to the violence that has been a nagging problem over the years. He also examined the nature of oriundi in Italian clubs and the national team.
The new season has started, with several compelling story lines across Europe—the battle in Manchester, the dawn of the Tito era in Barcelona, Juventus’ resurgence undercut by another betting scandal, and the possible rise of PSG. I plan to do my weekly Morbo Minute and Old Futbol Buffet posts, combined with Strip Club posts and the occasional MatchDay Memory. Feel free to comment and respond on twitter and facebook.