beckham's back, all right!
Mood: happy
Posted on 2007-08-10 09:09:00
Tags: soccer
Words: 929

Here's the ESPN story. The story of our evening is below:

I went back and forth for a while about whether to drive all the way down to RFK or take the Metro. After reading that 45000+ people were going to be there, I decided to take the Metro - seemed like it would handle more people, and we wouldn't be adding to congestion.

So we did, and I grabbed a copy of The Onion to read on the Metro. (after djedi pushed me to - thanks!) Good stuff. The final train we took was absolutely packed with people, many of whom were wearing soccer or Beckham shirts. Neat stuff :-)

We got out and walked to the stadium - it was pretty clear at this point there were a huge number of people. Been a while since I've been part of a crushing mass of humanity. It's fun!

Eventually we got in the stadium and waited in line to get some pizza for dinner, then found our seats, around 6 rows done from the very highest in the stadium. Whee. Incidentally, we left work at 5:30, got to the Metro stop at 6:00, and got to our seats right around 7:05, so it took a bit longer than I had expected. (and we missed the first five minutes of the game, which was fine)

Clearly, RFK stadium was not built for soccer, as the seats we had were pretty far away from the field, and a little corner was cut off from our view with other seats. This also meant that when there was action down by that goal, people would stand up and so you had to stand up to see what was going on. Suboptimal. The people next to us were DC United fans and yelled a lot during the game - they knew all the chants and "songs" and whatnot. (they weren't exactly songs, more like musical cheers. I'm glad I read the ESPN article that explained the "We sing better than your wife" banner - thought it was weird to have that there all the time :-) ) A few people behind us worked for sports networks and talked loudly, one of them said he had interviewed Beckham yesterday.

The atmosphere was pretty electric in general. The stadium was pretty darn full, and DC United played aggressively in the first half, getting lots of good chances and scoring a goal. It was fun to watch!

At the 36th minute (right before a goal kick) people started yelling and cheering, and we finally figured out Beckham was warming up on the sideline, running back and forth and stretching and whatnot. I think everyone stopped watching the game and started watching him running and stuff. It was awesome! You could see the flashes go off from everywhere in the stadium too. Everyone was waiting for him to come in, but halftime came and no Beckham.

A 15 minute halftime sure seems pretty short...maybe this is indicative of the fact that the last game I watched was baseball, but 45 minutes of action, then 15 minutes of not, then 45 more of action is a pretty darn good ratio. They set up a small mini-field on the field and kids played soccer.

The second half started and shortly after it started raining hard. At that point we noticed the upside to our seats - you had to be pretty close to the top to have them covered so we didn't get wet at all. Hah! I figured this was bad news for our chances to see Beckham since he was having ankle problems...wet grass only increases a chance of an injury. LA was playing better this half, just missed a few shots and such. Then Beckham started warming up again with more cheering and stuff.

Finally when he was on the bench he took his warmup jersey off, to great cheering. Then he took his shirt off and put on a jersey, to even louder cheering. (for the shirtlessness or the putting on of the jersey? You make the call!) Then he subbed in and everyone went wild.

I was worried about being able to keep track of him, but even from our height I was able to tell him apart from the other players. He definitely wasn't sprinting or anything, and looked like he was still getting his bearings, although he did make a few nice passes. Whenever he touched the ball people yelled and cheered, amusingly enough :-) He even took a free kick and bent it toward the goal, but to no avail.

DC United won 1-0 (despite the guy behind us's prediction that Beckham would tie it up in the 89th minute) and all were happy. We began the voyage home...

Since there were soooo many people there Metro was running buses to a different Metro stop, which we got in line for. I can't imagine what it was like at the Stadium stop but the whole station must have been packed with people. There were buses there but we didn't get in the first round, then it took a while for them to get to Union Station, then we had to change trains, and then finally we had to drive home. We were pretty hot (it's been quite hot here, even at night) and tired by that point. The game ended at 9 and we didn't get home until 11. I do hate driving in DC but if I had to do it again I might just drive and save some time. Yeesh.

So, good times. Glad we were able to go :-)


Comment from djedi:

My brief additions:
First, the game was pretty cool; I had never seen a soccer game in person. The crowd was a more immature than the average baseball crowd and definitely drunker.

Second, the ball-handling skills were pretty impressive, even given that the last soccer I'd really paid attention too was the World Cup.

Third, lol, the fake falls were getting irritating but the ref wasn't falling for it *all the time*, so they let up some in the second half. There was this one time where a guy (flying) TACKLED another guy and thus ended up on the ground and then tried to get a foul called on the guy he tackled!

Fourth, I was disappointed in the amount of time we saw Beckham, but it was still neat and fun.

Fifth, Greg, I heard the secret is to park at New Carolton and take the orange line in and out. It's MUCH less used and much shorter than to and from Greenbelt and only involves a bit more driving in the car.

Rachel and Lynn want to coordinate if we go to another game.

Comment from gerdemb:

This seems to be one of the paradoxes of public transportation - in order to move people more efficiently you also have to concentrate them which creates congestion loosing efficiency.

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