After an amazing 12 days (10 nights in hotels and 2 nights on planes) - I am going to go home to resume my real life. I find that I need to replenish the bank accounts that have so generously made this adventure possible.
BUT - I have deputized a tremendous press and photography team down here to feed me up-to-the-second information that I can then make very boring and send to you. My two sisters, my brother (his wife - my sister-in-law), Chris' wife Lindsey and daughter Emersyn (A Pequena Chefona) - and even Lindsey's mom Leah continue with the Family Group in Brazil. They will feed me information and I will feed it through this blog --- and --- pictures on Twitter at @jwondo.
My middle son, Stephen, also left Brazil today. He is headed to Indianapolis to pick up coaching the Earthquakes Academy Team --- a job that his colleagues allowed him to ignore for the past 12 days.
This trip has been beyond amazing. Getting to know the other families of the team members is an experience I will never forget. To a person they are the most friendly and engaging group I have ever met. The group has been so supportive of each other and the team. And I continue to be so appreciative to Amy and her team at US Soccer for making this trip so easy and fun. My personal thanks to Matt Barton who was there at the Natal Airport at 3:30am to make sure I got to the hotel and again getting me to GRU tonight for my 10:30pm flight out of São Paulo.
It should have been obvious that I thoroughly enjoyed writing about the trip in this forum. I am going to continue publishing this multi-digital-media machine (this blog and twitter @jwondo) until the USMNT finishes in Brazil - (and I would not be surprised if that is after the Championship Game).
Thanks to my company for allowing and encouraging me to leave the country for 12 days during such an important time for our company. Thanks to my wife Joanne for allowing and encouraging me to go on this trip of a lifetime. And thanks to the Soccer gods who somehow - improbably - created this opportunity.
My son Chris has taught me a lesson - a lot of hard work + a little humility + a lot of caring for the people around you = makes fairy tales come true. My son Stephen has taught me a lesson - if you only speak English than your world is too small.
If anyone actually is reading this - thanks. I will continue to funnel first-hand accounts of what is happening in Brazil (but in a second hand kind of way). Joanne has promised me that nobody is going to be at our house but me at 9am on Thursday as I set up the Portugal/Ghana game on ESPN360 and fire up the big screen for the USA-Germany game. I will be blissfully by myself screaming at the top of my lungs.