BlackFoot bedlam has come to Landover, Maryland! Inhuman heat, pissy parking attendants and unruly, bone crushing queues could not keep the BlackFoot faithful from witnessing their beloved boys in black take on the Money Madristas, Real Expensive Madrid. The stars fell out of the sky and landed on the beautiful pitch at FedEx field. All of your favorites were there: Chris Pontius, Ben Olsen, Gomito, Luciano Emilio and of course Jaime Moreno. Who could ask for more? Well, maybe the the 60,000 fans cheering for the likes of Sneijder, Xavi Alonso, Higuain, Kaka and Christiano Ronaldo. What a day for the BlackFoot, what a day for football.
10:30 was the meet and greet time at the Head of Security's new headquarters, very nice by the way. Much later was the actual depart time for the Footers as they convoyed their way through the beautiful streets of the Nations Capital to the home of the Washington Redskins in Landover Maryland, FedEx field. Could we get any more states involved in hosting our professional sports teams? I guess if United move to St. Louis . . . Once we arrived on the scene and argued with every parking attendant we could find we set up shop in what I would deem not to shabby of a spot. The tents went up, flags were hung, grills were started and bean bags were tossed almost daring anyone in a golf cart and orange vest to ask us to move. FYI, besides the orange vests the rest of the uniform consisted of black pants and shirt, for a job where you are working outside in 95+ degree heat all day, nice Danny boy. Our ploy worked for a while but eventually it became clear that FedEx was going to put cars any where they could so some quick vehicular maneuvering ensured that we had the space we would need to tailgate to the best of our ability. Which we did. I mean it was awesome. Fundamental Footers mixed with their fringe counterparts and the party just grew and grew. Even notorious anti-soccer spokesmen Irwin and Monty were present to let the hate go for a day and enjoy the greatest sport on earth. Irwin and Monty, sounds like a comedy duo. They are not.
I cannot stress enough the heat of the day and how many lesser fans may have shown up right around game time to avoid the sunburn and dehydration that came with the ticket. Have some faith in the Foot though, we had multiple tents keeping the cars parked next to us nice and shady, perhaps more water than beer which ordinarily would have been considered a breech of the fundamental tenets of the BlackFoot charter and the Chef set the grill a considerate 5 feet away from the tailgate so you barely noticed the heat coming off of it. It was so hot Graziano, clearly suffering from heat stroke and thinking he has a body worth displaying, took his shirt off. It was so hot that Jimbo was fun to hang out with because he provided some shade. It was so hot that Sanders only peed 10 times, clearly suffering from dehydration. It was so hot that Chris and Rich got along. You get the point and if you don't you are an idiot.
Greetings from the grill: The Chef took the stick out of his ass and skewered some chicken and beef on it for the BlackFoot to enjoy. Not bad if you could forget the origin of the utensil. Burgers and dogs graced the grill, a healthy (well, not healthy really) portion of which were donated by our own Security Head and his lady after their housewarming party the night before. Good eats, but liquid was the prescribed menu item of the day, water and beer and plenty of it. None of the Footers seemed to be suffering from too little of the former or too much of the latter. Well done lads.
Into the game now and this is where the love story sours. All seemed well as the early crew, including yours truly, marched off to what we hoped would be glory. However, all thoughts of anthems and emblems, warm-ups and line-ups, the pageantry and the prestige were shattered as we saw the line, nay, the mosh pit of people trying to enter the stadium. It sucked. In line at 2:30, in the stadium at 3:10. Disgusting. Bad enough you have this "line" that you are waiting in, worse to have the most over zealous quintet of dumb drummers, tambourine terrors and woeful whistle blowers standing in it right next to you. Add to that the almost cattle like clot of people pushing you, elbowing you and sweating in your general direction and it made for a tough entry. After a quick frisk (not worth the wait if you ask my opinion, Sanders may argue that, I think he got his guys phone number) we were in and off to our amazing seats. Right behind the Madrid bench, which I think may have been made of gold, but I can't be sure. The view was great, except for the first ten minutes when all I saw was sweaty backs and asses because I was still waiting to get in. The DC Darlings put up a good fight, against both the heat and some of the most talented footballers on the planet and they managed to preserve a nil-nil draw at half. Both the above mentioned combatants took their toll in the second half though. What looked like a tired 11 finally succumbed to intense pressure from most notably dirty Dutchman Robben and the underutilized Higuain. Two goals for the latter and a cheeky chip goal and two assists for the former. Great to watch but somewhat bittersweet if you are a fan of the boys in black. The atmosphere the 72,000 plus fans created was unbelievable. This fan had to think back to the World Cup qualifying match at RFK to remember an experience quite like that. Although, I think this was even more intense, whether made so by fuzzy memory or fact. Great experience overall that made the spent pennies look puny and the inconveniences seem paltry.
A great a post-game tailgate broke out with all the components of it's pre-game counterpart. Burgers, bean bags, brews and buds. Good friends too. Thanks to Graz for eventually putting his shirt on. I hope all the Footers enjoyed the day as much as I did and hope some of that enthusiasm will carry over to the next DCU home game, and carry them over to our spot in great Lot 8 at, pay attention Hulk, the home of DC football, RFK. BlackFoot is getting their shit together and it is starting to show. Come join the boys and enjoy some undercooked chicken, brutal conversation and unbridled passion for all things DC United; where the only thing higher than the alcohol content of the beers is the lads themselves.
Line of the day: There was a funny one from Hulk inside the game, but the details are a little hazy. Someone on United, who apparently has Canada somewhere in their bio, decked Ronaldo. Hulk shout "From Canada with love!", which at time, due either heat or humor, make laugh happen. After some research I cannot find anyone on the DCU team with a Canadian background but I am sure the comments section will come through since I firmly believe there has to be a first time for everything. In this case two of them, if you count Hamlin saying something funny.
BlackFoot back pats go to the sober drivers, big thanks to The Man from Mrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, Graziano (yes, you read that right), and either Adam or Adrian (names?), one of which I believe drove home a carload of overheated hooligans.
Great tailgate everyone, it was a Footjob well done. I am off now to search for my wife who stashed herself on the Madrid bus in the hopes of meeting and running away with Ronaldo. What can I say, she likes the euro trash. Look forward to seeing you all again soon because even though we just finished one, I can't wait to tailgate!
P.S. this monumental match up probably deserves a lengthier post but after yesterdays Fahrenheit festivities I am beat, so give this column a rest and go check out something written by the Colonel. Go on, I dare you.