So today was a relatively short day but still one filled with heartache on the pitch!
First off was our delegation friendly where we played a game of 5-on-5 soccer in honor of the World Cup. After taking an early 4-0 lead I was feeling pretty confident in my team. Then the other team battled back for a 10-9 victory. In the end we all had fun and had a nice little workout! But I still hate losing!
Then we went to attend our 2nd of 3 World Cup matches pitting the defending world champions Spain against Chile, a team not many thought had a chance. Before we even got into the stadium we were stopped by a group of entertainers and we got a workout in as they taught us some dances to warmup for the game!
Walking into Maracana I quickly saw I was outnumbered as a Spain fan as the stadium was filled with Chileans. Still I felt confident in my team, a confidence that quickly faded as they lost 2-0 and were knocked out of the World Cup! My heart still aches but I will forever bleed red and yellow for La Furia Roja! Viva España! Campeones Siempre!!
Even though I hate seeing my team lose there is a silver lining here, I no longer have to split my time between Spain and Argentina and can devote all my attention to Messi! Argentina para Los campeones del mundial!
So my first official day in Rio has come to and end and I can say the bar has been set extremely high! Even if this was my only day here I would be happy, fortunately I still have many more. In just my first day here I’ve had the experience of a life time!
It all started with the drive from the airport. The first thing that was very evident was the vast gap between the classes. If you think there is a wealth gap in the US, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen Rio. One minute we are looking at brand new stadiums and state of the art residential and business buildings and right next door are the favelas barely standing on their own. Can’t wait to explore this a little more!
Then came the moment I’ve dreamt about; watching Lionel Messi lead Argentina in their match against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Not only did I get to watch my favorite athlete in the world play I got to do it in the LEGENDARY Maracana Stadium, the temple of soccer. I am still in disbelief that I was able to watch it and be so close to the pitch!
Other than the fact that Argentina won 2-1, I got to see Messi score a goal in true Messi fashion, by making it look easy! At times I felt I could touch him he was so close, just look!
In tonight’s excitement I hugged strangers, jumped up and down with them and sang songs I didn’t even know the words to. Regardless of whether the people around me tonight were Hispanic, Brazilian or Bosnian, tonight’s only language was football. One day in and my dream has come true, can’t wait to see what’s in store from here on out!