On the 26th of June, Connor and I head to Brazil for the World Cup. He and I represent the sum total of soccer worshipping crazies at the Flanagan homestead, in the upper Rattlesnake neighborhood where we make our home. This will be the trip of a lifetime for he and I. I hope one of many more to come. The steady build up of planning, entering the lottery for and getting tickets, renewing passports and applying for visas has made this trip seem more tangible than most of our vacations. Our game tickets arrived about three weeks ago. The realization that we had seats two and three rows from the field between the end touch line and the eighteen sent us into a frenzy. The Fates had smiled on us and the wait for departure suddenly took on a bit of an edge for Connor and to a lesser degree me. Connor's school days became just a bit longer. Fortunately he has a club team he plays for to help exorcise some of the emotion he is finding himself dealing with. Ironically, soccer is his outlet. Imagine that.
Like so many great things in life I have a number of people to thank for this opportunity, not the least of which is my wife Lisa and our daughter Sloan, who both decided to stay behind. They keep life in perspective and have not elevated soccer to the level of religion. Yet. There is hope that they will turn the corner for us to welcome them into the cathedral of world futbol, but if I had to hold my breath I would surely be dead before they crossed the threshold. Since neither of them speak Portuguese and they don't want to be harassed as heretics by legions of futbol worshipping fans, the choice to stay home may have been a wise one. Lisa's comments lead me to believe that she takes no joy in watching Connor and I behave like perfect idiots. Regardless of my idiot status and their heresy, I will miss them and by the time three weeks role by I'll be ready to be home. Also, there is the Stark-Ragsdale clan in charge of logistics. Peter threw out this idea over a year ago and I enthusiastically, and forcefully, invited myself and family along. Peter is one of the "Old Boys", a group of over-forty men that play pick up soccer in the Rattlesnake neighborhood we live in. Without the energy both Peter and Amy, his wife, have put into this trip it is likely that Connor and I would not be going. To me they represent safety and give me the confidence to travel in a foreign country, alone with my son, where we do not speak the language. They along with our group, have lightened the planning load to a point of non-existence. Finally, I want to thank my soccer playing friends who through the years have helped me scratch the soccer itch and supported me with their friendship and camaraderie. Thank you all.
I hope you enjoy this thread. There will be more to come.