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Friday, June 21st, 2002

Time Event
10:04p
Diary of a sports fan who doesn't like soccer that much
12:02am Hey, the game starts tomorrow at 7:30. I guess I can catch the first half in the morning before I go to work. I hear the games are actually fun to watch.

12:10 Sleep.

7:22 Snooze button.

7:30 Alright, alright already, I'm up!

7:45 I go in the den, turn on the TV. 20 minutes into the game already. Wow, they actually start on time. And there aren't commercials either. Baseball could learn something from them.

7:55 The announcers are right. America does actually seem to be playing better than Germany. Maybe there's a chance. It'll have to be zero-zero for awhile, though. No, wait, I mean nil-nil.

7:59 Damn. I hate Germany. Though that was a good goal. Nothing to complain about; they just beat us off of that direct kick thing.

8:05 Halftime. Breakfast. Right on schedule, good. I guess I'll check the final score when I get to work.

8:30 Well, back in front of the TV. The second half's about to start. I can watch a couple minutes before I leave.

8:36 STUPID #*&$ING REF, THAT WAS A GOAL!!!!!

8:37 Okay, looking at the replay, it wasn't a goal. It was damn close, though. But...STUPID #*&$ING REF, THAT WAS A HAND BALL!!! This game should be tied!

8:38 Okay, that wasn't a hand ball. Apparently according to the rules, it has to be intentional, and that definitely wasn't. Good call, ref, though I'm convinced he didn't actually see it touch the guy's hand at all. But this is the type of goal you need to get in order to win a soccer game, I mean, match. Because they're so low-scoring.

8:40 Finally leave my house. Two minutes later than I like. But if I walk quickly, cut through 30th Street Station like usual, and don't stop for anything, I can catch my 8:52 bus. It's the last one on that route for the day.

8:49 Get to 30th street on time. Cut through a different way than I usually do.

8:50 Walk past the sports bar. Stop to check out the score. Still 1-nil. Oh well.

8:52 It's only a 15 minute walk to work from here anyway. Who needs the bus?

8:53 I'm standing outside the sports bar, watching the game through its thick glass windows from the main walkway of the train station. You can barely see the score or read the closed captioning, and the announcers are frequently drowned out by the crowd murmurs, but you can definitely see the game fine. There's a nice crowd of about 10 of us here, and the inside of the bar is packed. During morning rush hour. If there weren't an Eastern Hemisphere sports event that had us all transfixed, you'd wonder why there are suddenly so many alcoholics around...

8:54 On my first day at this job, the first thing my supervisor told me is that I don't need to call if I'm an hour or so late. It's no big deal. And she was right; people are late all the time. Thank goodness.

8:59 The guy next to me: "Geez, that's like 5 yellow cards in the past 3 minutes!"
The woman behind me, just like someone else every 2 minutes: "Ooh, what's the score?"
The beggar behind me: "What is this?" Me: "World Cup. You know...Soccer." Beggar: "So it's the championship?" Me: "No. It's, um, the playoffs. 8 teams left." Beggar: "Oh. Go USA!"

9:06 Wow, soccer is much more exciting than I thought. There are actually rushes in the general direction of the goal on occasion, not just guys passing it back and forth. And there are a lot of corner kicks; those are exciting.

9:10 Okay, so if I leave at 9:15, I'll only be at work a half hour late. That's not so bad.

9:12 GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOALLLLLLLLLLL!!!! The place goes nuts, erveryone's screaming. Half of the train station, including the entire staff of Auntie Anne's and Au Bon Pain, come running over to see the amazing replay of the US tying the game. A short Chinese man with a white apron asks excitedly, "It's 1-1 now???"

9:13 I think I'm the first one to realize. "It's not a goal. He hit the outside of the net! Dammit!" One by one, people come to that realization. A chorus of "awwww"s permeates the air. But aside from the food service employees, the crowd doesn't dissipate.

9:17 A guy behind me asks how much time's left. "About 12 minutes of stoppage time, I think." I still haven't decided how long I'm staying. The station isn't air conditioned well, and with my backpack on my back, I start sweating a bit.

9:20 I guess I read the digital board thing wrong. It must've said 2 minutes, not 12. The game stops, and people start asking what's going on, until the graphic says "Germany advances to the semifinals." The crowd starts leaving to try to catch their trains, or keep their cars from getting towed. I head for work.

9:29 I pass Bobby's Lunch Truck. The breakfast customer says to a man I can only assume is Bobby, "you hear we lost, right?" What's going on here? The city only talks about sports this much when a local pro sports team makes it to the semifinals of the playoffs! This team isn't really even local, and it gets this hype for the quarterfinals? Wow. But I admit, it sucked me in too.

9:34 I get to work; sit down at my computer. My boss and my supervisor both aren't here yet; a lot of other people aren't either. I wonder where they've been the past few hours....

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