Wednesday, June 01, 2005

SOCCER! Better than "priest parking"

Yesterday Fr. Mike, the newly ordained priest who has been assigned to St. James (he starts June 17), and I went to watch not one, but two soccer games yesterday. Fr. Mike and I have been friends since both of us were in the seminary, and we have tried to catch a Metrostars game each summer.

Sunday I noticed that the Metrostars were going to be home for a game against the Chicago Fire, on Tuesday (5/31). Since Tuesdays are my day off, and I knew he was off, I call Fr. Mike to see if he wanted to go. We did not think that the game would be sold out. Then I noticed that it was actually going to be a double-header, with the national teams from Columbia and England playing at 4pm, before the Metrostars and Fire. We went up yesterday, now a bit nervous if we would get seats. The cheapest tickets were $35, but they would be nearly all gone, so we were expecting to pay $45 or $55. As we were on line a woman asked us if we were looking for tickets because she had 2 extra (friends had canceled). She said that she had paid $120 a piece, but would sell them for $50 each. We bought them, and it was the best they we could have done.

We were alittle off mid-field, and in the first row. We could see the beads of sweat on David Beckam. It turned out the the man sitting next to us, his son is a seminarian for the NeoCatechumenal Way at the seminary Fr. Mike just graduated from. The first game was so awesome; crisp passing, excellent runs on the ball. England won 3 to 2.

Then the Metrostars and Fire played. Wow, what a dramatic difference in the quality of play. Watching the MLS each week, you don't realize that while the quality of US soccer has improved in the 10 years the league has existed, it still is no where near the level of European football. It was like having watched two MLS teams play the opener, and then two recreational league teams play the main event. Sloppy passing, basically just kicking the ball into the open field even though no player on your team was in the area to make a run on to it. Somehow the Metrostars came back to win, scoring one goal in the 77th minute and the winner in the 90th (stoppage time). It was a blast. Oh, the "priest parking" I refer to in the title is that a priest I know said that it seems to him that once he was ordained, good parking spots in big lots, just seemed to open up for him. He called it the grace of "priest parking." I am not as sure of that particular grace, but yesterday's excellent seats and company certainly has a grace.

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