Happy Mother’s Day everyone! Looks like Saint Medard (patron saint of good weather) smiled upon us once again on Saturday night. A cool, dry 60 degrees greeted us at RFK Stadium in the nation’s capital, the pitch was kind to the knees, and the locker room was open every time we needed to get in! The crowd was great, the weather perfect, Mike Squire was gifted a well-earned “Incredible Hulk” action figure for his Birmingham strong-like-bull ingenuity, and a great rivalry was on hand. Our game faces were on.
U.S. vs. Canada is always an interesting match-up, and though called a “friendly” (whose bright idea that was I’ll never know), it’s essentially a hockey-loving country (Go Flyers!) against a pointy-football-loving country. The common thread is that the big-time sport in each nation involves hitting each other really hard, repeatedly, and with enthusiastic vigor. Except in our game, proper football, there’s no equipment other than the whimsically-named “shinguards”, which these days are about the size of my debit card…on my key chain. I’ve always thought it was a good idea to have shinguards at least as long as the bottom of my opponent’s shoe, where hard pieces of plastic or metal await to encounter my tibia, but this sort of precaution apparently went out of vogue sometime around the Nixon presidency.
As it was, everyone kept the big picture in mind with that little tournament in China coming up, so while they played hard, especially in the air (check out the picture of McLeod and Kai challenging for a ball – and yes, McLeod got the ball first), they kept their minds on the business and we were able to facilitate an open, free-flowing match. Everybody just played. Fabulous.
One of the benefits of traveling as an official is that you are able to experience the unique characteristics of various cities – and figure out the cheapest way of getting there. Ergo, I fly a certain discount airline where the flight attendants sing songs into Baltimore and convince my AR & ride (thanks Deb!) to schlep me to a little piece of heaven on earth. A place where the décor hasn’t changed in 40 years, the parking lot is a crammed mess of cars, and the staff have little interest in chit-chat. A place where I would gladly crawl on my knees in the snow for a take-out order. If you know Baltimore, you know I’m talking about G&M’s and I’m talkin’ crabcakes.
They’ve ruined me for crabcakes anywhere else, because all others are mere mushballs of pulverized crustacean shells, sawdust, and red pepper flakes. They ship ‘em, they pack ‘em, and there’s always a line at the carry-out counter. And the restaurant. And the bar lounge (I hear). Let’s just say that the box I picked up from them was about as big as my ref bag and about twice as heavy. At the airport I checked my ref bag anyway. No way was I letting these babies outta my sight. I’m now home, and it’s time for supper.
Have a great week, see you next time.