Thursday, June 25, 2009

Altidore, Cesc, And Steve Jobs

So the US beat Spain. Seems ridiculous to even type those words, but it's true, and even better it wasn't flukey.

The US central defense played about as flawless a game as possible. And, going forward, Altidore, Dempsey, Donovan, and Davies did enough to create the necessary chances that the US buried. Woo hoo!

The best part is that I got to see the last 15 minutes or so live.

I just started a new project job on Monday. I've only been able to poke through the proxy to access one streaming media protocol (and even that's just audio). So I had no audio, no video, no live nothing for the match. I was following along solely by the UF liveblog. By half it was clear: we were playing with Spain.

I had the foresight to set the Tivo before I left the house in the morning. But my relationship with DVRs is not a good one. I'm too impatient. Even if I don't know the outcome, I almost always start fast forwarding because I have absolutely zero patience.

If we were going to beat the Number One team in the world I was going to watch it live. Somewhere. So I'm risking a job I've had for two-and-a-half days? I mean there are millions of other jobs to be had. A win—if the US could even hold on to its 1-0 halftime lead—like this might not happen again in my lifetime.

Working in my favor: I was so new here that I didn't even have an ID badge. Nobody could track when I entered or left the building. Getting back in once I left might be tricky but HOLY SHIT WE'RE LEADING SPAIN. Also, not many people even know who I am yet and there is only one person dependent on my output right now. He's an outside consultant. He's here four days a week. He's constantly putting out fires. My whereabouts are not his top priority.

I left. I walked out to my car and started driving. Where I had no idea. Is there anything remotely resembling a fucking sports bar anyplace around here? Christ I'm in the bubrs, shouldn't there at least be a Bennigan's every third block?

I had the game on XM Deportes as I'm turning down streets blind hoping for something to appear in this asphalt expanse. My Spanish didn't have to be that good to know 'cinquenta y siete minutos.' The clock was moving.

Finally I see a huge mall. There has to be something in there. I am literally running through the entire thing. No EPSN Zone. No electronics shop. What the fuck? This is America. All we want to consume is media, food and drugs. Why isn't anyone selling beer or TVs anywhere around here. I am not fucking missing the end of this match. Are we still even leading?

I get a text from a friend of mine in Dallas. "Are we really 20 minutes away from beating Spain?"

Yes we are, and that means we're still winning.

Wait. I saw an Apple Store.

Okay. They have computers and every other Apple Store I've ever been in has had net access. That's all I need. Well, I need it to not be heavily restricted access, but I'm out of options.

I walk in and walk over to a table of laptops. I type '' and Sweet Allah of Kismet... The stream comes up.

Dempsey just scored. I missed it live. But I saw Timmy Howard give the thumbs up after the replay. I stood there in the store and watched. I didn't just watch. I WATCHED. I blurted out "He was on!" when the flag went up on Connor Casey. I kept mumbling "Close him down, Close him down" every time Spain got the ball up the left side with space. I was contorting my body to help the ball move how I wanted it. It was like I was in an invisible yoga class for special people with Tourettes.

Customers started to back away. Pretty soon I was the only person around the front corner table of laptops. While I was driving, time couldn't slow down enough. Now it wouldn't move quickly enough. The 80th. Shit, we've collapsed worse in 10 minutes. This isn't in the bag. I might feel okay at the 85th.

The 85th comes and I'm about to relax. Then Bradley gets the red. "Bullshit!" It was as close to a shout as I think I would let myself get away with in a store full of strangers. Fucking Xabi Alonso.

An employee came over: "Can I help you?"


There was a bit of a pause. "Well, then can I ask what you're doing?"

"Uh... I'm watching us about to beat Spain."

He doesn't look like he cares. He does look at the streaming video, then looks at the URL. He probably makes a few decent assumptions that this isn't totally legal.

"I'm not sure you can do this here."

"Are you the manager here?" I ask him.

"No," he says.

"Then I can do this."

He walks away. I figure even if he does tell a higher up by the time anyone gets back to me it will be stoppage time. Maybe. I swear South Africa is bending time. And not in the way I want it.

It's just me, a sweet ass 17" Mac Book Pro, and a lot of weird stares.

But America, Fuck Yeah! We held on. We beat Spain. And I got to see the last 15 or so minutes of it as it happened. And the coolest part about it? The camera on the Haitian Sensation as he walked off the bench. No jumping, no screaming like he'd just met Jesus, no nothing. He squirted some water in his mouth and went to go shake a few Spanish hands.

Yeah, act like you've been there before. Not bad for a 19-year-old.

Anyway, I hauled ass back to my car, drove twice the posted speed, pulled into the parking lot, and totally lucked out. Someone was walking into my building just a couple of steps ahead of me. I could slip in behind them with the open door and wouldn't have to ring the desk on my floor and possibly have to explain where I was or why nobody could find me. Anonymity. It's your friend.

I casually strolled back to my cubicle. No suspicious looks. No "See me" Post-It notes. Nothing. Sweet. U.S. Fucking. A.


Bigus Dickus said...

You are my hero

The Fan's Attic said...

awesome...i just eschewed work from my desk and billing for my time. you have me beat by miles.

Steve said...

commitment through and through.

The NY Kid said...

You magnificent bastard.

MrRedDevil said...

You're not the boss of me!!!

EbullientFatalist said...

Inspiration for the rest of us, PR.

I'm interviewing for a gov't. job; the info packet indicated a "no tolerance" policy on surfing the net. How am I supposed to watch CL and Tuesday Prem games when I'm at work? It almost makes me want to withdraw my name from contention.

Migranol said...

as they say above, a hero for football, I think that is great to see such passion for the game in a country that doesnt share that feeling...

I mean, back here in Chile if by any chance we could be beating Spain the country will be paralized and probably nobody will be working at that time

cheers mate, and keep up this fine blog!

Precious Roy said...

Migranol: Funny you mention that... As I'm driving around I'm thinking "Jeez, any other place in the world and the country is shut down because EVERYONE is watching."

G said...

...but did you finish your TPS reports?

Truly an inspiration to us all. I love that you used Apple's dime to do it too.

jape said...

Are you the manager? No? Then GFY!

Love it.

Lisa said...

I just marked it in my work calendar as "An important Spanish Client meeting", called the pub to verify they would show the match... I ended up as the only female in the pub except for the waitresses... and watched the most amazing match (better than when France beat Spain at WC 2006)!!!

Unfortunately, I was so excited about the outcome of the match that my boss figured out where I was.... I just smiled and told him this is a precursor to my schedule for 2010... that during any French or American match he will find me at the pub.... Go USA !!!

Sarah said...

...I'm a lazyass college student who hasn't gotten around to getting a summer job yet. So I have nothing but time to sit around and watch football.