"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I finally saw my beloved Man United


The fact that I haven't blogged about my trip to see Man United in Kansas City on Sunday yet just goes to show you how severely overworked I've been lately.

But here goes -

How do I describe something that is beyond words?

At work today, I kept being asked, "How was it?" I answered, "It was a religious experience," which always got a laugh. But it wasn't funny. It wasn't an exaggeration. It wasn't even adequate.

I started out with my daughter in tow at 4 a.m. on Sunday. We drove 12 hours, and for a lot of it, I didn't know if I was going to make it. I'd only managed to get about 4 hours of sleep, so I was exhausted even as we began. We made it, with little time to spare, and since I couldn't get an early check-in to my room, my Twitter friend Dee said my daughter could hang out in her room during the match.

Upon arriving at the hotel, I immediately got a burst of energy. There were people in the parking lot tailgating, and everywhere I looked were the red shirts of United. Finally! I was surrounded by people who *got* my love, my passion, my intensity for this club - and who shared it - even in my own home country.

Dee and I and her friend Kara headed down to catch the shuttle. For me and Dee, this was the approach to heaven. We were brimming with excitement. It only got better and built up more as we rode in the shuttle over, arrived at the stadium, watched the fans in the parking lot...

We met another Twitter friend, Robin, in the parking lot and had a beer, then we were headed into the stadium.

As we reached our section in the stands, I saw the pitch for the first time. Even from the top of the stairs, it seemed so close. I was agog. Then it was down to our seats, right up front. Suddenly, I realized, we would be sitting at a point where the men of Manchester United would be passing withing just 10 or 15 feet of me.

The electricity of the stands wasn't quite Old Trafford, but most of us were seeing our favorite team play for the first time, so there was a virginal excitement among everyone.

For me, it was almost surreal.

I'm not the type for hero worship or being starstruck - I've had quite a few brushes with the rich and/or famous in my life (and some considerably more than "brushes") - but the moment I first saw Edwin Van der Sar run out on the pitch and wave his arms to rouse the crowd, the reality of it hit. I was there, and within moments *they* would be there.

And then they were. I took about a hundred photos of the match, but most of the time, I didn't even know what I was shooting. I watched, and I couldn't blink. Much of the time, I didn't even know what was happening with the game itself. I was just drinking in the presence of the players I've come to love so much.

The heat was scorching. The humidity was suffocating. Still, I didn't even feel it. The just reveled in the experience and consumed the energy. Everything was in slow motion. Every moment seared itself into my brain to be preserved.

We lost. I didn't care. In a way, it almost completed the experience. I'd run the full gamut of emotion - almost. I wasn't heartbroken. I couldn't be. I was *there*.

I suppose I can't begin to try to explain to anyone who hasn't felt such a passion for a team. Those who understand it, share it, and those who don't share it will never understand it. Glory, glory Man United!

(Just finished watching the match against the MLS All-Stars and a glorious 5-2 for my boys!)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fantasy fulfillment

I am a firm believer in fantasy fulfillment. I believe that life is made up of your memories, and if you have a chance to make a memory, you should go for it!

We all live our day-to-day lives, and yes, there is purpose and meaning there, but what do you sit back and recall on quiet nights? What do you tell stories about when you're with your friends? What do you tell your kids and your grandkids about when you're old? What just makes you smile when you think about it? It's not going to work every day, doing housework, etc.

It's those MOMENTS.

Sometimes the moment is just a minute. Sometimes it's a night or a weekend or a once-in-a-lifetime or just a first-in-a-lifetime event. But it's all about the MOMENTS.

I get to make another memory this weekend. I'll be hitting the road in just about 10 hours to drive to Kansas City to see Manchester United play live for the first time. It's not Old Trafford, and it's not the way my first Man United game was supposed to be, but it's a MOMENT that I'll always remember.

Going to see Man United play is a fantasy, and I'm about to fulfill it. No matter the expense or the time or the effort involved, that makes it worth it.

If I'm lucky, I might have another moment coming up later this year. I just got a hint of another possible fantasy fulfillment that I've been thinking about for a couple of years now. It won't change my life, but it will be a MOMENT, and if the opportunity presents itself, I WILL be going for it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Crunch .... or crushing... time...

I got to take two days off work Monday and Tuesday to "pay" me for the work I did before I got on payroll. (Corporate said they couldn't pay me for the last of my freelance work since I'm on payroll now, so the boss said take the time off as time worked to make up for it.) It's a good thing I took the time when I did, because it's getting busy for me now.

We're in the midst of the big vacation blitz, so people are taking days off every day, and I'm in to pick up the slack for them across the board. I guess that's what happens when you've done everything in the department.

My crunch is getting worse though, because the webmaster who replaced me when I left has gone off on maternity leave, so I'm left to fill in the web duties for my paper, in addition to my regular work... and filling in for vacationing people. I won't be able to breathe for a while.

Yesterday was her first day off, so I started the web duties. I didn't get any slack on the pages I had to do, so I was in the office an hour and a half longer than I should have been. Then after midnight last night, I had to upload Friday's stories from home. One experience on that with my netbook, and I know I don't want to repeat it. (The Mac laptop for work is out of commission and I'll be getting it back next week.)

Today, I'll be going in at 4 or so to do the night desk duties and I'll have to stay late to do the web uploads for Saturday's pages. I should be in the office until about 2:30 a.m. Oh joy.

We've got a reporter off next week, and the boss said I'll probably be having to pick up some of the reporting work too. Seriously? I've got 40 hours and no overtime allowed. How the hell does he expect me to do it all?