Friday, July 22, 2011

Soccer!

Before Jacob was born I'm pretty sure I made the declaration that I would never let my kid play soccer.  I think I'd seen one too many kiddie soccer exhibitions at Rhinos games and knew that a bunch of kids chasing after a ball was not something I felt like watching a few times a week.  Well...that was before I had a child that can kick a soccer ball probably just as well as I can...at the ripe old age of three.  I never did see the ad in the paper this year for the three-year-old soccer signups, so we managed to avoid it this year.  However, next year we may have to look into it because Jacob's pretty good with a soccer ball.  He's also quite good at tee ball, too, so we'll have to see if the seasons overlap.  In the meantime, we have to make do watching these sports and letting Jacob refine his skills somewhere between our living room and our front yard.

Wednesday we had the opportunity to go see a Women's Professional Soccer game between the Western New York Flash and magicJack (based in Boca Raton, FL).  A few weeks ago this wouldn't have been a big deal, but following the Women's World Cup, it was a huge deal.  The Western New York Flash (technically based in Buffalo and owned by the head of Sahlen's (yes, the hot dog people) but playing games here in Rochester) includes players like Marta from Brazil, Alex Morgan from the US, and a handful of other talented international players.  MagicJack has US superstar Abby Wambach (a Rochester native), US goalie Hope Solo, and a few other key US players.  MagicJack's visits to Rochester are a big deal simply because of Abby, but this one went above and beyond.  It ended up being a sellout crowd of over 15,000, a league and stadium record.  Most of the top names, including Abby, didn't play, but she was there and so were a few others.  Marta and Alex Morgan both played, which was a treat.  It was really just a pleasure being there for all the hoopla. 

It didn't hurt that our friend who works for the Rhinos and the stadium set us up with amazing seats ON the field.  We were literally about eight feet from the field signs.  Insane.  Did I mention it was about 90 degrees when we got there?  We had to wait in a long line just to get into the stadium, and it was pretty brutal.  Lori came with us, and between the three of us we exerted a lot of sweat just trying to wrangle Jacob from the time we got there until we were comfortably in our seats.  The sweating continued for a while, and Jacob still never stopped moving, but at least we could sit!  Here are a few pics from the evening...

Jacob during the anthem...how cute is he holding his USA hat?

As if a goalie stance in both hockey and lacrosse wasn't enough, now we have a soccer goalie stance.

Just thought he looked cute here.  He stood pretty much in that spot most of the game, just kicking his soccer ball to us.  We had to prevent him from doing drop kicks or headers for fear his little ball would end up over the field sign and on the real field.  Yikes!  At least he had room to move, though that ended up meaning he hardly watched any of the game.

Another failed attempt at a picture with a cute smile.  Still ended up pretty cute anyway...

Abby!  She explained at halftime why she wasn't playing that night.  She did get the key to the city, among other honors.
Despite the heat earlier in the day, it ended up being a beautiful evening--no jackets needed.  Oh, and the sunset over the stadium was pretty fantastic, too.

With Lori there it was a perfect opportunity to get a good family shot.  Jacob didn't cooperate (as usual), but not too bad overall.
All in all it was a fun night.  Jacob stayed dry (woohoo!) and although he was up late (we got stuck in traffic for quite a while on the way home), he went down pretty easily and slept well.  The view we had from our seats was pretty impressive, and it was nice that Jacob could play while we sat.  The women were quite talented and we saw some great goals.  But to see the excitement of so many fans, so many young girls, and just the city in general, that was really the highlight.  And it was fun to read about it from national news sources yesterday as well!  A good time was had by all.

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