24+ Hours of Soccer

18 May

Tomorrow, as you are waking up to a fresh hangover, twenty-two of the best soccer players in the world will engage in a grueling battle to determine this year’s Champions League Final. If you have been too busy anticipating the upcoming NFL Season, this is the Super Bowl of European soccer.

Regardless of your opinion on the world’s most popular sport, this game is a must watch and because of that, Dan Swanky’s has sent our field intern, Barney Buncombe, across the pond and into the storm as the unofficial US representative for this momentous event.

In addition to portraying all stereotypes of an American soccer fan, he will be frequenting Hooligan hangouts to interview local fans in an attempt to capture the intensity of the day.  He will be updating this post regularly over the next 24 hours, so keep your browser on Auto-refresh and get ready to scream “GOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!”

UPDATE: 5/18/12 – 3PM – Three Clover Pub 

The fine city of London has treated me well so far (minus the Spotted Dick) but I vowed that I would not return home until I enjoyed a lager (or cider) with a professional soccer player. I was hoping to rub elbows with the likes of David Beckham or Alan Shearer, but fate had another thing in mind.  Upon entering the Three Clover, and taking a stool at the bar, I noticed a rough group of gentleman had taken a particular interest in my presence. After a minute long question and answer session about the origin of my body paint, I was invited to their table and soon learned that they were going to the Final’s match AND that one of them used to play pro soccer in Argentina. Over the next two hours we imbibed like merry men and listened to Carlos as he recapped the glory days as a young Argentinian soccer phenom. Eventually, Carlos outpaced himself and fell asleep at the table, and I decided it was a good time to walk off my buzz, in preparation for this evening.

UPDATE: 5/18/12 – 9AM – London Heathrow – International Customs

I thought that my passport shouldn’t be the only document describing my country of origin, so after deplaning I headed straight to the bathroom and applied red, white, and blue body paint over most of my skin. I have now been queuing for over 45 minutes and nobody around me is interested in an interview. Talk about backfire. Luckily, I found a used copy of EuroSport in one of the bathroom stalls and used my phone to order a new pair of boots and a signed picture of Landon Donovan.

UPDATE: 5/17/12 – 10PM – Raleigh Durahm Airport – Gate A16

The trip could not have started off any better. I was minding my own business, causally enjoying a few pre-flight beverages while watching highlights of the ’93 Final when suddenly, a fellow patriot, dressed in full USA Soccer Kit, started a soccer chant from his seat as if he was already in the front row of Wembley. Empowered by his complete disrespect for Airport etiquette , I ran over and quickly joined in harmonious song. Most people at Gate A16 were horrified by our performance, quite possibly because my new singing friend was of Middle Eastern decent, however we continued undeterred for 25 minutes until airport security kindly asked us to keep it down. Caught up in the rowdiness, we declined, and were promptly tasered , handcuffed and escorted into a windowless room. After a few ‘handshakes’ and meaningless signatures, I was allowed to board my flight and re-start the adventure.


 

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