Brazil is a big country - when you get on a plane from Natal to São Paulo you are basically doing a one day excursion. Here is my observation from today with the families of the Team ...
As we used to say where I grew up - 'this aint their first rodeo'. This group travels well and I can tell you from personal experience that it is rooted in your life as a soccer parent of firing up the SUV at 5am on Saturday to drive 5 hours to get to the first game of the weekend tournament. Then - after the first game you hope you can check into the hotel (maybe motel) but the room is not ready and then you go to the second game and check in after the second game and your day just gets better from there. Every family member here has spent holidays in a hotel somewhere in the middle of nowhere because of a soccer tournament.
So - this group of families is already battle tested and after 9 hours of traveling every single person had a happy and warm smile on their face. I have been amazed at just how genuinely nice every single player and family is. And if anyone ever did get bored - you only need to watch the Jones kids to be entertained. They are the most beautiful, active, athletic, and fun-loving kids that I have ever seen --- and they always leave an impressive pile of crumbs in their wake. It is impossible to watch this family without a smile coming across your face.
The day closed with a dinner for the team members and their families. It was so great to see these players with their kids sitting on their laps - as much as it was to see proud parents with their USMNT boys. The result last night helped to make tonight a night that everyone will remember fondly. Our team was in good spirits.
I now have one goal for this trip - I am going to try to beat the family members to the hotel gym tomorrow morning. I anticipate that my stiffest competition will come from the Beslers - they work out early and they work out in packs - but I have a few days to try to craft an ingenious plan.