Monday, June 23, 2014

Long Travel Day

The Family Group left the hotel in Manaus at 7:15am this morning and pulled into the hotel in São Paulo at 5:00pm this evening.  A long travel day for wives and other family members.  Just in the three group games the team and families will have flown 20 hours and traveled by bus more than 10 hours in the two week time span (not including the 15+ hours on average the people from the U.S. had to travel to get to Brazil).  That is a lot of travel but it seems to be going well ... from the families standpoint U.S. Soccer has been so organized and brilliantly efficient that it all has gone very smoothly.  We have 20+ young children with us but even with that the group has traveled extremely well.

From a personal standpoint - this has been a fantasy trip.  I have been able to travel with one of my sons (Stephen) {my other son Matty is doing dog-sitting and house-sitting duty for Chris and Lindsey back in the Bay Area} ... we have enjoyed the fact that we have had friends join us at each game (Eric Bucherre is the Head Coach at Menlo College and a long time Wondo Family friend who joined us in Natal .... Jake and his dad Gary and Keegan -- all long time Wondo Family Soccer Friends joined us in Manaus) ... and ... I did get to have the surreal moment when my son put on the US Jersey and went into an actual World Cup Game last night.  I wish I could put into words how that felt and what it meant --- I have tried to but simply cannot.  My wife Joanne will be surprised but I am at a complete loss for words to describe how it felt - I am lucky to have been able to hug him tonight to show him how proud of him I am.

I have a strong family group down here ... in addition to Stephen and me - I have my two sisters and my younger brother and his wife down here.  We also have Lindsey, Emersyn, and Lindsey's mom Leah.  That is another blessing that makes this trip so much better personally.

So enough personal stuff -- last night's result is fine -- the way it went down is a bit hard to swallow.  But after spending some time with Chris and Brad this evening I sense an even stronger sense of optimism and determination.  I have written it before and will continue to --- who knows how the soccer gods will rule but this is a special team and a fantastic team to be invested in.

Tomorrow the team trains and then probably heads out to Recife - the Families try to settle back in to São Paulo for a day before heading out to Recife the following day.  Stephen and I got back to São Paulo in just enough time to get down to a neighborhood corner indoor/outdoor pub where we watched the Brazil-Cameroon game with about 50 local Brazil fans.  That alone was worth the trip down here.

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