Saturday, May 3, 2008

Welcome to Birmingham - Part I

Ok, I’m up. It’s 4:30 a.m., which to most reasonable people, outside of clinicians and military folks, is still the middle of the night. My flight to Birmingham, Ala., for the rematch between the U.S. Women’s National Team and Australia leaves RDU at 7:30 a.m. This is the time of year when I know what the TSA guy on morning shift in Terminal A takes in his coffee, and the Starbucks people give me a 10 percent discount because our “dress blues” USSF threads makes me look like a flight attendant. So working backwards, I figure this ungodly hour would allow me to get through my pre-flight, pre-game routine without forgetting something vital like my cleats, jerseys, or ref kit.

Especially, my jerseys. Please understand that I am extremely grateful for the support and generosity of Official Sports International, without whom I’d still be wearing a 1984 white-cuffed black polyester number that isn’t fit to be near open flame. This jersey issue is my special deal. I am what some people may refer to as “compact”, “vertically challenged”, or for those who overestimate my delicacy, “petite”. This means that every new jersey takes a trip to Mrs. Lee of Lee’s Tailors, for whom I seem to have the pleasure of financing her six-year-old’s college education fund considering that every stitch of clothing I buy goes through her scissor-weaponed hands before landing in my closet. We’re looking to wear the spiffy new red jersey tonight, where the sleeves of my “short sleeve” jerseys now end somewhere above my forearm, the kimono sleeves are snipped back to somewhere around the middle of my torso, and the three feet of extra material along the bottom isn’t bloused into oblivion. The pockets are still a wee enormous in proportion to the rest of the shirt, they sort of tuck into my shorts, but hey, I’ve lived with bigger inconveniences in life.

Should be a great match, please do whatever dance allows us to proceed in a two-hour window of calm between thunderstorms, and send some mojo to the team in red (that’s the ref team in case our jersey color changes). We’ll do our best to get it right and catch up with you later tonight post-match.