Sunday, June 1, 2014

Times Square USMNT Fan Fest

The closest I'll ever get.

One of the nicest things about living in New York City is that things happen here, and it generally only takes a short subway ride to get to said happenings. For example, I checked twitter as I was getting ready to go shopping on Friday and discovered that Marriott was holding a send-off for the USMNT* in Times Square, one of my least favorite places on earth.

*This is an acronym you will hopefully see a lot of over the next few months - United States Men's National (Soccer) Team.

After running my errands (yay, 98% DEET spray and new camp towel!) I took the train up to Times Square. I popped into the multi-story Walgreens to buy a new memory card for my camera before searching out the fan fest. It turned out to be right next to the building - I got a nice glimpse of red, white, and blue as I went up the escalator.


Down in the pedestrian mall between Broadway and 7th Ave, all sorts of tents were set up. I wandered around in search of swag, and got a couple of Deuce faces and a pair of American flag sunglasses. USWNT player Kelley O'Hara was on hand to interview USMNT legend and ESPN pundit Alexi Lalas and current defender Omar Gonzales at Marriott's small stage. I ended up with a pretty good view, though I didn't get any free tickets to Sundays game, like some lucky people.

This kid was a great sport.

Birthday card for Alexi

After that was finished, barriers were moved around to form a path through the crowd. After a long wait (seriously, whose idea was it to drive through Times Square close to 5:00 PM on a Friday?), the team got off their bus and headed for the stage. I have serious feelings opinions about Jurgen Klinsmann's exclusion of Landon Donovan, but these 23 players are our team for this World Cup, so obviously I wish them nothing but success. 



That said, it was a little awkward when both Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman predicted the team won't get past the group stage, with the guys sitting five feet in front of them. Probably accurate, but awkward.

Some American Outlaws (the most vocal US fan group) were toward the front of the crowd leading chants, from "Oh When the Yanks," and "I Believe That We Will Win," to less family friendly ones. One of the fans had a replica of the World Cup trophy, which quickly became a photo prop for the people standing nearby.

  

Then it was Lupe Fiasco's turn to take the stage, which - meh. I took a peek at the bus to see if I could find my name amongst the 34,265 members of the US soccer supporter's club. They were alphabetized, but I couldn't find it anyway. #Refund?

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