US Men’s National Soccer Team–US vs. Jamaica

Last night, the US men’s national soccer team played against Jamaica in Chattanooga–and I went!

We arrived at the stadium around 6:40 pm. Kickoff was at 7:00, and the lines were really long (and I mean, like, a mile long–no joke!), so we thought we were going to miss the beginning of the game. But my dad found a really quick-moving line around 7:00, so we jumped in there and got in really fast.

Luckily, the game started late, so by the time we were in our seats, the national anthem had been sung, the teams had been introduced, and the game was ready to begin.

I’m a soccer player, and I’ve seen some good players, but I have to say–I think watching them play was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. If you’re a dancer, imagine watching Julia O’Rourke or Misty Copeland take the stage and dance a solo. If you’re an artist, imagine seeing the Mona Lisa in person. Or if you’re a musician, imagine being at one of Chopin’s concerts. That’s what it was like, and it. Was. AMAZING.

Now, I must also add that the game would have been a lot more enjoyable if it had not been 30 degrees outside with a really brisk wind blowing. Those of you up north are probably used to much worse, and my cousins from Idaho always laugh when we complain about thirty-degree weather. But where I live, if it’s less than 40 degrees outside the state basically shuts down. So, naturally, around half-time there was a mob of people trying to buy hot chocolate, so many people that, in fact, they ran out of the stuff two minutes into the break.

Neither team scored in the first half, but in the second half USA scored. The crowd went completely berserk. Everyone was chanting, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” My family was screaming our heads off.

And then the best part of the game happened.

As they were setting the ball up after the goal, a man in a white shirt and sweatpants took a flying leap out of the stands and onto the field. He sprinted to the other side of the field and gave high-fives to the fans over there. As he was doing this, security leaped over the gate and started chasing him, and the man high-tailed it back to our side.

Just as he reached our side, he turned and sprinted past the USA goalie, jumped over the barrier, and began running around the small section between the goal and the fans. The next barrier was really tall, so he jumped up and the fans behind the goal grabbed his arms like they were going to pull him up so he could escape a night in jail. But then they pushed him back down into the ring, with the security guards closing in on either side.

But this man wasn’t giving up that easy. He did a move one way and then sprinted the other way. He pounded down the small section behind the goal and was jumping back into the field when one security guard pulls out his tazor and bam! Hits the guy in mid-air. He fell flat on his face and stayed there while the security guards handcuffed him and escorted him off the field. We cheered him on like a hero, and he waved at everyone. It was HILARIOUS.

Meanwhile, a Jamaican player is being carried off the field on a stretcher, which nobody really noticed until after the runner was gone.

At the end of the game, the score was 1-0, USA. Everyone was cheering, and then there was a collective scramble to get back to our warm cars. At my grandma’s house, we celebrated with cheesecake and cookies and (thank goodness!) hot chocolate. We chatted about the game until about 11:00, and then we all went to bed.

I wish I had some pictures to show, but they’re all on my dad’s camera. Believe me, though, this was the best experience of my life! I would totally do it again if I had the chance, although I would bring some more blankets and scarves because it was COLD.

Well, I’m going to go catch up on sleep. Stay cool!

Smiles,

Lydia

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