Sunday, June 24, 2007

New Passion

Last night I attended my first professional soccer match. And all I can say is, what took me so long?

The Harrisburg City Islanders have been around since 2004. One of the owners is the guy whose company handles my 401(k), but do you think I made an effort? Of course not. City Island is a great place, but I equate sports on the island with crowds, parking issues, and mayflies (which actually bother J more than me, but still).

But the team has a promotion now that offers free Pro Passes to kids who are playing soccer, which means for most games, they go free. Number One's team was going to last night's game, so we decided to go.

Parking? Free. And not overly crowded.

Crowds? Minimal.

Issues? Obliterated.

The seats we got assigned were front row bleachers behind one goal. J wants me to spring for the more expensive sideline seats next time, but they weren't bad seats. We were right next to the players coming off the field after warmups and coming on during introductions.

And maannnnn. WHY was I not compelled to go to these games? Twenty-two hot guys--lean, muscled, strong guys--duking it out with their feet. Hot, sweaty guys wiping sweat off their faces with the hems of their shirts--exposing lots of yummy abs. What's not compelling about that?

The game was fun, too. The distances the ball travels amaze me, though I found the differences that result interesting. It was less disciplined than I would have expected. Some sequences had fabulous passing and teamwork, but a lot of the time, it's a header free-for-all. There wasn't as much finesse and footwork than I thought we'd see. There was plenty of acting, as any time a player went down and a foul was whistled, they acted really hurt.

The Islanders are having a good season. They have only one loss, and that's to Western Mass, which is where I grew up, so I'm not unhappy about that. I'm pretty much a hometown girl, even if I've lived in PA nearly as long as I lived in MA. They are in round two of the U.S. Open Cup, too. We missed the round one game because of storms (bought tickets and then bagged the game, which of course they won). I hope we get a chance to see another game.

So this is going up on my web site's Passions page, and I'll be there Wednesday, cheering my team on.

To think I always thought I'd only like soccer when my kids were in the game. Silly me.

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