Category Archives: geography

A Turning Point In American History

Everyone should wrap themselves in an American flag and run through the streets right now.

Clint Dempsey pulled off a hat trick today vs. Newcastle. Why is this a big deal? He was the FIRST AMERICAN to do it in a Premier League game. USA USA USA!

I’m wondering if it’s overkill to wear my Dempsey jersey every day this week.

To me, this is like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. One small step for Clint Dempsey, one giant step for American soccer players and fans.

Soccer is the greatest game ever invented. It does seem kind of boring at first. But then as you watch more of it, and you’re able to take it all in, you start to pick up on the subtleties that make it the most exciting thing you will ever watch. Even if only 1 goal is scored the whole time, a regular game is so intense/emotional/heartbreaking/exhilarating. It makes people fall off couches and dance on bars.

I need more people to love it. Like if you think watching a Steelers game with yinzers at any yinzer bar in Pittsburgh is an exciting time, you should watch a soccer game with any group of non-Americans when their favorite team is on. I was in Chile for a few of their World Cup qualifier games. That’s the moment I knew I was in love. A lifetime of growing interest became full-blown love at some point during that summer.

There are some rabid soccer fans in the US too. It’s just kind of difficult to find them. If you live in Pittsburgh, Piper’s is the place to be. I don’t think there’s anything like that even close to Mobile, unfortunately.

I’ve tried to arbitrarily pick a Premier League team to love but since I have no real ties to any of the teams, it’s just not the same. I still love to watch it because it’s beautiful and mindblowing but I’m never really emotionally invested in it. I kind of passively follow MLS soccer but it’s kind of the same deal. I don’t really have a team because they’re relatively few and far between and also, the skill level is obviously not at the Premier League level. It’s like watching any college sports game between two teams you don’t care about. Still cool if you’re interested in that sport, but not really as exciting/engaging.

I need more people in the US to care so that we can have all kinds of formidable players and more more MLS teams and more sponsorship and game attendance. Get interested then throw money at it! Because it will be just as cool/profitable to play here as in Europe.

And most importantly, we’ll win the World Cup. The day we win the World Cup will actually be the best damn day of my life. Forget all those other life landmarks like the day you get married and the day you buy your first house and the day your first kid is born and the day you get promoted to CEO. When the US men’s team wins the World Cup, I am going to quit my job and celebrate for an entire month. And I don’t care if I’m 90 when it happens. This is going to happen in my lifetime. I refuse to die until I see it happen.

I was too young to remember when the women did it in 1991. But I sure as hell remember when they did it in 1999. It inspired a nation. And as a (just barely) 12 year old girl, it inspired me to just be awesome in general. On July 10, 1999, I learned that women are just as badass as men. I think the women on that team are still my heros. This is how I feel every time I accomplish something awesome:

(That’s iconic shit. I wish it was more appropriate to rip off your shirt in public and drop to the ground. I’d probably do it a lot.)

ESPN says they’re still the best, too.

The women’s team won again in 2003. And almost won last year. That quarterfinal game was absolutely THE BEST thing I have ever watched. I’ve never felt such explosive joy and maybe never will again. I’ve never gone from “Oh my God, this is hopeless and I’m OUTRAGED” (because there was ALL KINDS OF BS going down in that game) to “HOLYFUCKINGFUCKICANTBELIEVETHEYPULLEDTHATOFFOURTEAMISAMAZINGANDNOONEELSECOULDHAVEDONETHATTHISISTHEBESTDAYOFMYLIFEUSAUSAUSA” so fast in my life.

10 players from the 66th minute to the end? NO PROBLEM. I still get all riled up about this obviously. I could rewatch that game over and over and over again. Pretty sure I had a 10 foot vertical jump that day. I also remember just collapsing on the floor after it was all over. I probably shed a tear. The moment is forever burned into my brain. It’s PROOF that you can overcome situations that are blatantly unfair and still succeed. I haven’t given up on anything since.

Then they beat France (psh, easy) but lost to Japan in the final. Sad. Until I found out that the women on Japan’s national team only practice at night and basically have to keep part-time jobs on the side to pay the bills because they don’t sell a lot of tickets to games and don’t get endorsements or sponsorships or anything due to lack of popularity. (

Plus, there was the whole tsunami thing and it was a huge morale boost for the country. Sometimes it’s ok for my team to lose. This is one of those times. Job well done, Japan.

Anyway, soccer… love it, please. More fans –> more players –> more good players –> more teams. I want an MLS team to live and die by. For awhile, I was kind of a Liverpool fan by default just because Matt is arbitrarily a Liverpool fan. Since that was the only reason I rooted for them, I obviously could care less about them at this point. Maybe I’ll become a Chelsea fan. That would be cathartic.

Back to Clint Dempsey. Can I get a print of this for my office?

That’s him scoring the 3rd goal. THAT’S HISTORY.

Start watching some US men’s games. Even if you actually end up not liking soccer, you can at least have a good time watching Tim Howard yell at the subpar backfield every time they fail. I love Tim Howard. He saves our ass all the damn time. We’d be nothing without him. He’s so good. SO GOOD.

In other sports news… Pens game last night. I didn’t watch it but after my phone started blowing up, debilitating homesickness set in because I wanted so badly to have been watching it with everyone. Sports-related things are responsible for 99% of my acute homesickness episodes. It was an explosive joy type of game, apparently. As we all know, those are my favorite. I only saw the highlights. But they were damn good highlights. First of all, Letang is BACK and so are the Pens. Praise Jesus. Second of all, MALKIN FOR MVP! Incredible performance. And he’s scored 8 goals in the last 10 games or something like that. I think I need to name my first kid Geno. That’s probably something you have to bring up right after the proposal while your husband-to-be is still elated (immediately after he proposes… basically during the actual proposal). This is how the scenario plays out in my head…

– Of course I’ll marry you. We’re going to name our first kid Geno.
– I love you so much that it doesn’t matter. And let’s name the dog Letang.

And now, here’s something that’s not sports related at all. Geography lesson!

Where is Alabama? I think y’all need some assistance with this.

Drew called me the other day. The beginning of the conversation went like this…

Drew: When do you have a 4 day weekend or any time off? We have to go to Odessa.
Me: Where the hell is that?
Drew: Texas. I figured that since you live in Alabama, I could just get you on the way.
Me: Do you know where Alabama is?
Drew: Close to Texas.
Me: Not really. There are TWO states in between. It takes like 8 hours to get to just the state line, I think. Why do we need to go anyway?
Drew: Grandma Lane was born there. I need to connect with my roots. She hasn’t been back since the late 70s. I think it’d be cool to meet some new extended family and see if her old house is still there. And I need to get out of NY. I’ve also heard good things about the taco trucks.

While he’s talking about this, I’m Googling Odessa. It’s almost on the other freaking side of the state.

Me: It’s a 16 hour trip from Mobile!
Drew: What really? I looked at it on a map. It didn’t seem like it’d be that long. I thought you said it was 16 hours from Pittsburgh to Mobile. It can’t be that long from Mobile to Odessa.
Drew: No, but how do you? You’ve never been there before either.
Me: … Well, it looks pretty damn big on a map. And Google confirmed that it’s pretty damn big.
Drew: Ok, so not happening during a 4 day weekend. Maybe a half-day trip after ACL Fest?

(Austin is 6 hours from Odessa, according to Google Maps. Sigh.)

And then today, Kelly was like “I just looked at a map and Alabama is not where I thought it was. Definitely going to apparate,” when she was looking into travel options for visiting me in April.

I love you guys. Forever.

However, so that there’s no more confusion as to where I’ve gone, here’s a map of the United States of America. Alabama is circled in red. Everyone take note of where it is in reference to you. Pennsylvania and New York are circled in green. For Drew, Texas is circled in blue. (Notice how much bigger the Texas circle is compared to Alabama. And even the circle that includes both New York AND Pennsylvania.

Also, Drew… please make sure you look at a map of the world before you suggest that we go find your long lost relatives in Veracruz and swim across the Gulf of Mexico to get there.

It also maybe needs to be noted that Mobile is at the very bottom of Alabama. Here’s a map in case you have any questions about the actual location of my city. It’s circled in red.