Posts Tagged With: football

The mean streets of Portland

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Calm before the storm.

We were in Portland as we had got our hands on tickets to the sold out soccer game between our Seattle Sounders and their arch-rivals, the Portland Timbers. Our seats were apparently in the designated area for visiting fans and would be full of the Sounders supporters club; the Emerald City Supporters. The ECS is a drunken lot that wave huge flags, have a beer in each hand and are led by a glorified cheerleader with a megaphone; he leads his minions in songs and chants that taunt the opponents and spur their team to victory, or so they think.They drive us nuts, but it’s a love/hate thing because we love making fun of them.

We were supposed to enter a specific gate at the stadium, designated only for Seattle fans. Why? For our safety? Are we going to get beaten up by Portland fans?! No way. Portlanders are so laid back they are almost catatonic.

It was raining so we entered the first gate we came to and the ticket checker said, “You’re supposed to go in the special gate, but I’ll let you in anyway”. So we walked down the stadium corridor full of Portland fans; and no spontaneous riot erupted when they saw two Seattle fans on their turf. We did not have to dodge neither bottles or roundhouses flung our way. Instead, a Timbers fan approached us and said, “thanks for coming down to see the game here in Portland.” This was the second time that happened that day.

There was a low fence separating the Seattle fan area from the rest of the stadium. As we passed through this gate, the security guards said that once we entered we would not be allowed to leave until the game was over for safety reasons; give me a break!

We managed to find a seat and the keeno fans were already in full swing, waving flags, chanting, and drinking beer. It was just before noon and the inebriation level was already high.

 

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Go Sounders!

The game was everything a rivalry game should be, fast-paced and aggressive with lots of goals; although unfortunately Portland had scored most of them! With only five minutes left, the score was 4-2; Seattle was down two goals. But in one of the best comebacks I’ve seen, our team managed to score two goals to tie it, and the game ended in a draw. The Portland fans were stunned, quiet, and undoubtably pissed. Perhaps now they were ready to crack some Seattle fans skulls?

Unfortunately the officials thought so; they made all the Seattle fans stay in their seats for a full half hour after the game ended. Did they think Seattle fans were going to be set upon by a mob of Portlanders. I can just see it; a mob dressed in vintage from goodwill, on fixie bikes, with dumb facial hair hurling ironic insults our way.

We finally exited the stadium and onto the mean streets of Portland. We had a few Timbers ‘hooligans’ mouth off to us as we walked by; “That was a crazy game,” and “That was a great comeback, Congratulations!”

Terrifying.

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Categories: Americas, Portland - April 2014 | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

London 2012

Using every avenue and all means possible, Helen was able to acquire tickets to three Olympic events this summer in London.  We stayed with our friends Jean Paul and Katie, and arrived just as they were preparing the house for a party that evening featuring Jean Paul’s vat of Indian curry. (Apparently a family recipe from the ‘old country’,  which was somewhat strange, since he is from the Basque). Helen and I took a quick nap, trying to ease the jet lag to rally for the party. We did pretty well staying up till around eleven. Pints of beer + jet lag + JP’s curry = sleep.

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Centre Court

The first event was football, at the mecca for english football, Wembley Stadium.  We went with Helen’s childhood friend, Lucy and her husband Jamie, who were kind enough to give us their extra tickets. We lucked out; Team GB was playing Senegal in the second game. Wembley Stadium is state of the art with Jumbotrons and plush seating with some old-school rules. You are not allowed to bring beer into the stands, because back in the day when drunk lager louts/football hooligans used to beat the crap out of each other in the stands. I was wondering why so many people were loitering in the concession area pounding down beers.  You either had to chug beer in the hallway or sneak beer into the stadium in coffee cups. We did both.

 

 

 

 

 

Beach volleyball was next. The large temporary stadium was built in the courtyard of the old Horse Guard Parade. A strange sight; this modern modular stadium in the shadows of the 250-year-old buildings and on top of the jousting grounds of Henry VIII. Henry loved his jousting.

There was a commentator whipping the crowd into a frenzy and a DJ playing music between points. Between games they had a dance troupe in retro bikinis dance around the sand court or start conga lines that would dance around the stands. Beer drinking in the stands was commonplace instead of outlawed. We saw the powerhouse teams from Brazil, both men’s and women’s, and with it being  sunny for once in London, it did kind of feel like Rio.

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Rio

The next afternoon it was tennis at Centre Court at Wimbledon, with four game scheduled. I was excited walking through the hallowed grounds with all its tradition and Pimm’s cups. It was the complete opposite of the beach party at volleyball the day before. The judges trot out and around the court in a line, with stiff arms, to their positions. The tennis balls are lined up before the game and rolled individually to the ballboys in a ritualistic fashion. The head judge calls for “quiet please” before the ball is served. We were lucky and saw some of the best players including the two eventual gold medal winners Andy Murray and Serena Williams.

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Serena

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Team GB out in force at Wimbledon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a whirlwind trip with everyday packed with Olympic events or meeting with friends or family, full speed. When we got home, we needed a vacation to recover from our vacation.

Categories: Europe, London - July 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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