Posts Tagged ‘soccer’

Oh What A Finish – Christiano Ronaldo

April 12th, 2012

A wet dream of orgasmic proportions. These goals are amazing, the commentary is comment worthy. Ronaldo and Real Madrid vs Athletico Madrid this past week.

It’s got more ups and downs than space mountain.

Oh What A Finish – Raul

April 12th, 2012

Raul, so smooth, so classic. I love the deft deke of the goalkeeper in this game between Raul’s Schalke vs Hannover from this past week.

Oh What A Finish – Dorlan Pabon

April 12th, 2012

A powerful shot from the game between two Colombian teams – Nacional vs Peñarol Copa Libertadores April 10, 2012.

World Cup Fever

May 21st, 2010

I think Nike would be my dream company to work for.  I have mentioned this before, but their marketing campaigns are always so clever, and so…perfect.

They have once again succeeded.  Their recent ads for the world-cup sent chills throughout my entire body.  As Seth Meyers tweeted:

Second to the games the most exciting thing about a WC is the accompanying Nike ad. http://bit.ly/aPzWGLless than a minute ago via web

Though, one downside is the use of Ronaldhino will be more than he actually plays this summer, since he was left off of the Brazilian Team.  Plus, one other detail, is that he no longer worthy of the number 10 on the Brazil squad, and hasn’t been the 10 in some time.

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Forza Juve

June 5th, 2009

I brought back a Juventus jersey for my niece.  She has her game face on.

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Tourists In Ecstasy

May 27th, 2009

May 27

When we awoke this morning for our last full day here, we headed over to meet up with JeanE and Kathie.  Their place is really cool one bedroom, living room, mini kitchen studio-like place right near the Campo di Fiori.  This square in the morning hours, hosts a great swap meet meets farmers market.  It is filled with fresh vegetables, flowers, pastas, spices and of course the soccer shirts and scarves – which have turned into the most popular souvenir to buy in our group.

While my dad was away, my mother sneakily bought a tool that would turn carrots into curly-q designs.  She swore she would use it (**its been almost a year now and she has used it once?).

At 11 am we all hopped on a double decker bus tour again.  We have stops today that we want to hop on and hop off and see more of the city.  It is fun being all together.  Our first stop that we exit on is at Piazza del Popolo.  The old entrance into Rome held a couple of twin churches in which one of them was home to a Carvaggio painting that I love and wanted to share with everyone.  Spoiler alert:  this square and these churches play a role in Dan Brown’s movie and book, Angels and Demons.

In one corner of the church Cerasi Chapel of Santa Maria del Popolo is the pice called The Crucifixion of St. Peter. Across the chapel is a second Caravaggio work depicting  The Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus.  I love the way that Caravaggio paints and utilizes light in his works.

From that church we made our way down the street till we reached the Spanish Steps.  Let the crazy begin.  It is appropriate that all the Barcelona futbol fans would meet up at these steps for tonight’s game.  Everyone is in red and blue singing and dancing.  It is quite a scene, and JeanE is taking it all in stride.  If she could, she would change her citizenship and become a naturalized Catalonian.  She is taking pictures with fans, borrowing clothes from fans, and just enjoying the great spirits.

We continued walking down the streets, till we reached the Trevi Fountain.  If the Spanish Steps was the meeting place, this place was the party.  Fan upon fan chanting and singing and dancing.  What an experience.  I am so happy that I am here during this time.  Although extremely crowded, I can’t get enough of the revelry.  I have a little video, however do note that video and pictures only capture about 1/10th of a story.  And indeed, my video is not as loud or as chant full as the experience was.

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We found a bus stop and waited for the next bus.  We were going to take it near Termini and then stop for lunch.  Although the bus stop says that our tour bus comes every 10 minutes, we wait here for about 40 minutes.  We even have Lisa call the number on the board.  The bus arrives and eventually we find our way to a bad and crowded cafe for lunch.

This big game is in town, and the town –without warning– decides that no alcohol will be sold today anywhere.  So there will be no wine with lunch today.  This is probably a good thing.  But imagine the Super Bowl, or a tailgate party, at the last minute decided that no alcohol could be bought.

After our lunch, we walked over to Santa Maria della Vittoria, so that we could see St. Teresa in Ecstasy, a fascinating piece of art by Bernini.  The church was still closed and would be opening soon.  So while a few of us sat on the steps and rested, the others went on a gelato run.  Thirty minutes later we were all swooning.  This marvelous sculpture represents Teresa in ecstasy after she was pierced by an angel with an arrow of God.  It is a work of genius and is considered one of the masterpieces of the High Roman Baroque.  Debbie and JeanE playfully demonstrated their own versions of ecstasy in a really fun moment for me on the trip.  It will always be one of my favorite memories of the trip.  The best part about visiting art, museums, and churches of old, is when you can find a way to interact with it and make it more meaningful.  I am so grateful for the people on this trip, in the way they want to make, what some may consider boring museum outings, into a fun laughing and most importantly meaningful experience.  Whether it is pretending to be in ecstasy, making jokes about fig leaves on statues, or playfully imitating statues (see Lisa boxing in previous snide), I am blessed by the spirits of each person on this trip.

We got on the bus again and headed towards the Colosseum.  We mainly stayed on the bus for this stop, as I have found the inside of this place to not be worth the wait or the money.  However at this place, they were having a festival for tonights game.  So a stop or two later, Dad, me and Lisa got off the bus and started walking back to see what they had going on.  I did get about 10 feet away from the Champions League trophy that they had under case and guard.  The festival was not as cool as I had hoped, but it was really fun to be there.

We started heading home, and on the way, checked the Internet one last time for tickets.  We wrote down some numbers and made some phone calls.

We met up with Debbie, Kathie and JeanE at their place.  It was time to decide.  We had found some tickets, but they were going to be expensive and the game started really soon.

After way too much debate, we decided to go for it.  When else would I have this amazing chance?  Little did we know the headache that would then occur.

We borrowed my parents Italian cell phone, and made some calls.  The tickets were going to come to our place, so we had to start running.  Lisa and I took off running to our place.  All the while waiting for a phone call confirmation from India that the tickets were ours, and they were on their way.

Then the buyer needed a copy of our passports.  It is 7pm at night, the game starts shortly, how would we accomplish this?  We fortunately found a Mail Boxes ETC and got a copy and faxed it off.  But now our cell phone died.  We tried to find a pay phone to make a call.  We found one, and then phones were going in and out.  They had already taken our money and the tickets were ours, but now we had to meet them at the game, find the gate, and get through traffic to get there in time, all without a cell phone that worked.

Spending that much money to only get there by halftime, and maybe not at all was not worth it.  So we cancelled the order at the very last minute.  We were so close.  If only I was more decisive earlier in the week, and bought some then.

Our View For The Game, Outside In Campo Di Fiori

We walked dejected back to my parents and Kathie and JeanE.  We decide to watch this great game at the bar–the Drunken Ship–near their place.  When we arrived there,  the place was packed, so we stood outside a little window, and watched the game on the TV on the far wall.

What a thrilling game.  At one point, we turned around and people stretched about 50 yards back.  So exciting, though, so tiring standing there holding our spots.  At halftime, we figured we had enjoyed the spirit, and decided to go back and watch the 2nd half on their little tv.  The best club team in the world this year, won the game deservedly.  Barcelona swept all the trophies and played like magnificent champs.

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We walked home, through Piazza Navona one last time, and packed up.  Tomorrow morning will be sad.  I hate when great trips end.

The Lonely Roman Soldier

The Worst Part Of Being A Tourist

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Quest For The Perfect Pizza

May 16th, 2009

May 16th 

mercato_smIt was kind of odd, being in a big city again.  It kind of felt like I was in civilization again.  That isn’t a good or a bad thing, it just felt like there was a large town now, and lots of people.

I really wanted to get some items posted to my site, so we spent a good chunk of time this morning on the Internet in our hotel’s bar.

After that we started heading out into the streets, walking around, enjoying sunny Florence.  Two days ago on our hike in the Cinque Terre, Lisa lost her sunglasses.  And today, when we left the hotel, I had forgotten mine.  So we hit up a sunglass store and shopped around.  We now both have some european shades to add flair to our trip.

We continued across the duomo piazza, past the rustic building, to the central mercato.  In Florence, they have 4 or 5 blocks that are just street vendor after street vendor.  Often times, the vendor’s push cart is merely in front of their store that is in the building behind them.  Some pushcarts are selling leather wallets, others are selling leather purses or belts.  Some sell souvenir tshirts, while others sell glass or necklaces.

I love this part of Florence.  It is kind of like a giant flea market or swap meet if you will.  11 years ago when I was here, we’d have to walk through this market every day to get to the park where our group would eat our lunch of nutella, bananas and cold cuts.  I have very fond memories of walking through here.  Plus, I love shopping here cause you can barter and find cool items.  Today I bought some soccer jerseys, a belt and a wallet.

I had some friends going to Florence 10 years ago and they bought me a wallet.  It is a wallet I have used since then.  Of course it has been falling apart for a few years, but I said I needed to replace it with one from Florence.  Today I did.

pizzabargello_smWe followed this up with lunch near Piazza Della Signoria.  This piazza is near an old fortress/palace which is now a governmental building and a museum.  In this piazza are replica statues of David and many others.    We had a pizza and it was one of the best yet.

This is a good time to talk about my pizza quest (if I haven’t already).  Once again, 11 years ago, I ate pizza in Italy, mainly in southern Italy (Brindisi, Rome…) and it was amazing.  I will never forget it.  It was not like pizza at all.  I would cut into the dough, which was soggy with its toppings.  As soon as I would cut into it, the pizza would practically drain off.  It was like a big doughy, tomato-y, cheesy soup.  Since then I have always held, that pizza in italy is so entirely different than we have come to know it in the states.  

During this trip, the pizza has been delicious, and different from the states, but nowhere near what I remember.  I am on a search for the perfect, soupy pizza.

Today’s pizza was much soupier, but still not the same.  Though, I have developed a theory on this trip.  The pizza has gotten better, the further south in Italy we have travelled.  I think it might be a regional thing.  Much like their sauces are regional (creamy base to tomato base), maybe their pizza is too.  Do I really have to travel back to Brindisi to experience this again?

obarwine_smWe were still sore from our hike a couple of days ago, and still interested in finding a massage to work those kinks out.  We asked our concierge and the best they had to offer was having the masseuses come to our room.  I’ve never done that before, and it was a little weird having it in our own room, but of course once I slipped off into relax mode, I forgot all about that.

After our massages, we were in our room, and we heard a lot of clatter from the street below us.  We looked out our window and the street was packed with people, in orderly lines and groups, like a giant marching band.  It was like a parade, but it was a protest.  It was a giant protest march.  The signs they were carrying spoke of communism, of schools, of 1972.  They were singing, chanting, clapping, playing drums and instruments.  It stretched from the Duomo, all the way to Piazza Signoria.

obarview_smFor dinner tonight, we went to the Golden View, Open Bar restaurant which is just on the other side of the Arno.  It was spectacular.  Great views, great food, lovely company.  The restaurant was all white and had a really bright and cheery atmosphere.  We started our meal with some mixed Crostini.  Our second course was some Gnocchi for Lisa, and some Penne for me.  Then, Lisa had some Chicken I believe that she loved, and I had a giant steak Florentina.  I figured, when in Florence…

All were extremely delicious, and the wine and service were great too.  It was unbeatable.

We walked home happy and satisfied, taking pictures of the river, the bridge, and all the crazy town folk.

 

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San Siro-iously Cool

May 10th, 2009

May 10th

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We left for the game about 4 hours before game time. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t any hassle with the tickets, as well as to leave plenty of time to get there and to soak in the entire experience. The game started about 8:30pm and we arrived at the stadium approx 5:30 after a subway ride and then a 20 minute walk. The town reminded Lisa of Wrigleyville. We barely made it into the stadium as we were supposed to have a change of name form (every ticket has the original name on the ticket for security and for regulation of the resale market). Perhaps we had nice ticket attendants, or perhaps since there was a language barrier, they decided to let us in anyway. On the subway and outside the stadium it was a zoo of people, and this was about 3 hours before the game!

andyfield_smWe found our seats and they were awesome. We were just north of the penalty box. The stadium was much different and better than I ha expected. On TV, you see these glass walls and a lot of fencing behind the goals, but this was not bad in person. We had wondered if they had stadium food, and what it would be. Would it be hot dogs and cokes? Pizzas and pastas? It ended up being a lot of panini’s. Lisa was disappointed in the women’s bathrooms, as it was just a hole in the ground. I didn’t make it to the men’s to find out. We sat in our seats for 2 hours before the game. The stadium still had a ton of people in it, and they were all ready chanting away and lighting their flares, and loud booms of gunshot like noise filled the stadium. It was quite a spectacle. The stadium was filled with banners, and people wearing red and black. There was one section of Juve fans, behind glass walls, and when they would chant, fans would stand up swearing and cursing and flipping them off. You’ve gotta love European football.

milanfans_smEventually the players came out for warm ups, for announcements, and then the game began. I was saddened that Del Piero-one of my all time favorites-was not in the starting 11. As well as that Inzaghi was for Milan – not one I like. There were a few series of tricky passes in a row, but not a lot of opportunities. I was disappointed in Kaka’s play, but Beckham was delivering some nice balls. Milan easily could have been up if Inzahgi could finish. The score was 0-0 at halftime, and then all the fans around us started lighting up their cigs.

The second half was just as sloppy but eventually Milan scored by Seedorf on a deflection to him right in front of goal. But then, a few minutes later, Juve answered right back with a cross that was headed in by Iaquinta. More sloppiness ensued, and eventually Del Piero came on as a sub, and Beckham and Inzaghi were replaced by Pato and Ronaldinho.

 

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The game ended in a 1-1 draw and then it was a stampede to get out of the stadium. We got out of the stadium, but little did we know that we started our walk back to the train station in the wrong direction.

We got about 3 miles away in the wrong direction. When we tried to fix our direction, we only headed in a different wrong direction. 2 hours later we were still walking lost, asking every traffic cop for answers and getting confused looks.

Finally, we made it back to our train stop. However, by this time it was 12:15 am and the trains were closed.

So we hailed a cab, and 20 Euros later we were back at our hotel, exhausted and smelling like smoke. My legs were so sore and tired.

What a great experience and I am so thankful that it worked out. I have always wanted to go to a Europeansoccer match and have missed out on a few opportunities. To get this opportunity and it be with2 of the biggest clubs in the world, with some of the best players in the world, in one of the most famous stadiums–it was a dream come true. I can’t wait till next time now. At $200(US) per ticket, I got every dime’s worth. Maybe we can find a way to score some tickets to the Champions League Finals in Rome while we are there (very unlikely)!!

Oh What A Finish – Christiano Ronaldo

April 16th, 2009

What a strike from Ronaldo in yesterday’s champions league match. He had this to say about it:

“It is the best I have scored,” he said. “It was a fantastic strike and I can’t wait to see it again on DVD. I am very happy with it.”

Here is another collection of his goals.

Oh What A Finish – Adebayor

April 8th, 2009

It’s been awhile since I posted a sweet goal.  This happened in yesterdays Champions League match.

This Week I'm Thinking About: Kari Embree