There is that old expression that says, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”
I’ve also noticed that as I get older the days, weeks, months and years seem to fly by much faster. I’m starting to wonder if it is because I am having fun or if it is just how things work as you start to get older?
With this trip I think it was a mixture of both. The days seemed to fly by because we were so busy every single day with classes, travel, the actual soccer games and then the writing that followed. (It’s quite funny because I want to type football now instead of soccer… I think everyone here has changed me). But I actually have not once questioned whether or not I was having fun, and I think that’s important to take note of.
When I decided I wanted to go back to graduate school at Syracuse to study sports communications, I knew that it was because I loved sports and I wanted to make a career out of my passion. Being a young girl and playing soccer growing up, I of course imagined that one day I would be playing in the World Cup. I never imagined I would be covering one, but this is definitely the next best thing.
Although the United States were knocked out in group play, my favorite part about the trip is still going to the stadiums to watch the matches. I love the energy of the fans and the emotions of the young 15, 16 & 17-year-old girls. I was once their age playing the sport that they love as much as I did, and I can only imagine what it is like to play at this stage. But when I talk to them I and I am able to tell their stories it is extremely rewarding.
I can’t believe we only have one week left.
On one hand it feels like the program has flown by, but on the other I feel like I have known these people for my whole life and I’m going to miss them so much when I leave them next Sunday. I guess that’s what happens when you spend every single day with the same people.
We had our “off day on Friday. It was technically an off day because we were off of classes and soccer matches, but we still got together for activities, which I’m glad we did because it was a great day!
We toured Montevideo, had a nice lunch and then went to the Estadio Centenario Football Stadium and Museum to learn about the history of Uruguayan football and what the sport means to the country and the world. The first World Cup was held in this Uruguay in 1930 and the country eat, sleeps and breathes the sport. We see people every day playing, it’s really an amazing environment.
We also got to see the beautiful city of Colonia, which is about two hours and 20 minutes away from Montevideo and that is where some of the group play and quarterfinal matches have been held. It is an extremely old colony of Uruguay and you can see the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina across the Rio de la Plata there.
The past few days of games have been incredible to watch with three out of the four quarterfinal matches going into penalty kicks. (Everyone thinks it’s weird that I refer to them as PK’s because around the world they just call them penalties…) Anyway, it was a very intense way to watch three teams be eliminated from the tournament and a very exciting way to watch three teams move into the semis.
The semifinals will be New Zealand vs. Spain and Canada vs. Mexico. I’m looking forward to covering them and watching how these young women play. I’m predicting a Spain vs. Canada final with Spain as the U-17 World Champs, but we will see how it plays out.