I had an opportunity to take my six year old daughter to the USA VS China Fifa Women’s World Cup game here in Ottawa thanks to the generosity of some temporary neighbours who were in town for most of the early games. They had tickets for a couple of games that were happening after they went home and gave us those tickets.
I have not been to many professional sports events in my time and this was my daughter’s first time. If I can be said to have a sport that I like to watch, soccer is it. I am not allied with any particular team as I don’t watch often enough to have a favourite, but I love watching the game. I was fortunate to be able to go to two world cup matches and watch some of the best women in the world compete. This is the story of our adventure together.
Our journey began on the bus, or rather at the bus stop near our house. We checked the schedules and made our choice about which bus to take so we could avoid trying to find parking and so we could arrive early enough to get to our seats before the match started. All was going according to plan. We arrived at our stop ahead of schedule so we wouldn’t miss the bus.
Unfortunately – as you can see, there was no bus for us. Our scheduled bus never arrived.
Fortunately we live near a stop for another route so we changed stops and our bus picked us up. Of course we immediately headed for the best seats on the bus – The Back!
As all discerning bus riders know, these seats are the bumpiest and given that part of our route was under construction, we were in for a treat!
Our fellow passengers at cool section included a young guy in his own world with headphones on. I presume he was listening to Leonard Cohen, podcasts from The Economist or whatever kids listen to these days. I don’t think he even noticed our arrival – That’s how we knew we had arrived in the coolest section of the bus.
Initially I wasn’t sure that the others in that section thought we were cool enough. There was a man on his phone who looked at me with suspicion when I looked at him. He may just have thought that I was listening in to his conversation. I think perhaps he has never travelled with an excited six year old. There were far too many words coming out of her mouth for me to hear anything he was saying – no matter how hard I tried.
Another of our companions was so cool I didn’t even notice him at first. He was so relaxed he almost blended in with the bus. I can only presume from his moving company uniform that he had been working hard all week. He was drinking a not so carefully disguised can of beer and given his state of relaxation and the goofy smile on his face, it was not his first can of the day.
A few stops later we were joined by a woman in dress and leather jacket. She was also wearing headphones and existing in her own space.
As we approached at the stadium we started passing streams of people who were walking to the stadium. Some may have lived in the area and others were likely those who had chosen to park in nearby neighbourhoods and walk.
We arrived later than planned due to the fact that the bus we originally planned to take didn’t show up. We arrived after teams had entered the stadium and just in time to hear the final strains of the Star-Spangled Banner and the roar of the crowd.
We did make it in to the stadium in time for the actual start of the match.
My daughters do play soccer through the summer, however it is with the community association and they aren’t on organized teams with specific positions and they don’t learn all the rules, in no small part because the fields they play on are not marked as soccer pitches.
For the first quarter of the match my daughter was a disinterested observer. I gradually explained the rules to her to help her understand the action she was seeing on the pitch. It took her a little while to warm up and then she was cheering for and chanting USA, USA with the crowd. We were in a section that was overwhelmingly supporting the US team. There also large blocks of supporters for China
When the US team scored many in the 24,000 strong crowd leapt to their feet and roared.It is an awesome sensory experience to be part of so many people cheering and chanting.Click To Tweet
The match started at 7:30 so it was getting dark towards the end of the game. The stadium lights kept everything well lit and it wasn’t really noticeable that it was getting dark out.
After the match we loaded on to buses to head home. Our bus was initially carefully disguised as an out of service bus. We noticed soon enough that it had changed to our route and we and about 80 other people loaded on. Many of the US supporters were wearing their team colours or soccer ball hats. We managed to get ourselves seats at the back again. This time we were sitting beside a family who had come from the US for the game. The father looked like he belonged on a sailboat – bronzed skin, coiffed hair, very white teeth, tan shorts and a white US team shirt.
We made it to our transfer station and found our way on to a bus with far fewer people .
At the end of an exciting evening, we made it home and luckily for me, my daughter didn’t fall asleep on the way so I didn’t have to carry her from the bus to the house!