The beautiful game and some true American sweaty kids.
This morning I melted out of bed, slithered down the stairs and headed for the porch to pound out 20 kilometers on the rowing machine. It was an uneventful workout. The erg has been newly outfitted with a tarp underneath it because I sweat tidal waves and feel guilty about leaving an electrolyte cocktail all over the porch.
Anyway, I had to tuck the workout in before the event occuring at 10 AM. (This is an outstanding perk of being in transition between jobs. I have more than enough time to watch any and every World Cup game.)
USA-Algeria, baby. The game that would make or break whether we advance to the round of 16.
Ninety minutes to separate the men from the boys.
Or as I like to put it, ninety minutes to separate the Wolf Shirts from the rest of the laundry.
The first half entailed 46 minutes of full-body isometric exercise on my part. The second half was even worse. I get incredibly, uncomfortably, disastrously tense during these games. My muscles were twisted into tight bunches of suffering. The United States ALMOST scored a goal and I promptly scored calf cramps. We ALMOST scored again, and I whimpered silently while the muscles in the arches of my feet coiled themselves into tangly knots. We ALMOST scored about 73 more times, and by then I was so unreasonably tense that I believe I defied all modern understanding of biology and morphed into an actual five foot, nine inch marble statue of pure anguish. By the 85th minute I was quietly crying and silently begging the powers that be to end the dramatic event of emotional ping-pong being inflicted on my delicate psyche.
And then. Impossibly. In stoppage time, this happened:
Straight textbook Disney style ending.
Tim Howard makes the save and launches the ball up for the counterattack and it’s Donovan to Altidore and then Altidore is cutting it to Dempsey who flies in and pits the ball right toward the smug-looking Algerian keeper who bungles the save and it rebounds off of him then it’s Donovan tucking the ball into the net and putting the game to bed and staging USA at the top of their group for the first time since the first World Cup back in year nineteen-stinkin’-thirty and run-on sentences be darned I can finally breathe.