Drain You: The Copa America in Seattle
SEATTLE -- It would be blasphemy to write a blog post about the Pacfic Northwest without a mediocre Nirvana reference in the title, but that song I don't actually like describes exactly how I currently feel: drained. There's so much soccer going on right now. Too much.
Okay, so it's not really possible to actually have too much soccer happening -- fans in this country who have been around for a while will call us spoiled -- but I'm not sure if I've ever been thrown off my daily routine as much as I have been right now.
With two or three Euro 2016 matches during the morning followed by the Copa America, I feel like June has both gone by in the blink of an eye and lasted for forever. Oh, and that's not to mention that the actual soccer team I cover, Sacramento Republic FC, is in action as well.
So far this month, I've attended seven matches in three different states in 14 days. I have three more in the next four days before finally breaking for almost a week.
I don't remember the last time I hung out with friends. The last time I responded to a Facebook message. The last time I ate three meals in a day.
But that's okay. Because soccer. The country is currently wrapped up in the game. That's all we're talking about, all we're thinking about, all we're consuming.
Yesterday, Pike Place Market crawled with Argentina jerseys as Messi was in town to take on Bolivia. I didn't just see La Albiceleste kits though. Sightseers skulked around in the mob of consumers wearing shirts of the Sounders. The Timbers. The Whitecaps. Bolivia. Canada. Ghana. USA. Newell's Old Boys. Manchester United.
The list goes on and on, but the point remains the same: we're experiencing something of a Soccer Renaissance right now. Or Enlightenment. Or overload. I don't know how to describe it as all the eloquence has been sucked out of my brain through the bloodshot eyes I've developed from a plethora of soccer and a dearth of sleep.
If you opened this post expecting to read about Messi, sorry. It's impossible to put Messi into words that do him justice just as it's impossible to meet your daily hygiene requirements when there's this much soccer to digest. I tried both anyway, the Messi part in my column in today's paper, and the hygiene part by stealing my Seattle host's toothpaste. To be honest though, neither fully worked: my column was average, and my breath still tastes like the CenturyLink Field press box roasted potatoes.
You win some and you lose some.
Some notes on my travels to the Northwest, a region in the country I love visiting perhaps more than any other. But first, I'm told this is the most Instagrammed image in Seattle:
Before you read these lukewarm takes on my experiences this week in this part of the country, note that I lived in Oregon for three years during college and absolutely love the Northwest. I can see myself making this a permanent home one day. Now, let's start with a cold take and then gradually increase the temperature:
Yesterday in Seattle, I wore jeans and a rain jacket during a downtown stroll, necessitated by the 55-degree weather that featured scattered showers and wind. This is perfect weather for any time of the year. I'm definitely not looking forward to returning to the sweltering, 100-degree Northern Californian summer.
The public transportation in Seattle needs to step its game up. I'm staying almost exactly 10 miles north of CenturyLink Field and it took me over an hour to get to the stadium using the most common form of public transportation in the city: a bus. When I complained about this to Seattle Times soccer beat writer Matt Pentz, he sort of just shrugged and laughed at me before agreeing.
Riding the train is always significantly more fun than riding the bus. I don't know why, but it makes the public transportation in Portland far superior than that in Seattle. That's not an entirely fair comparison as Portland is one of the leading cities in our country in terms of public transportation infrastructure.
Providence Park is better to watch a soccer game at than CenturyLink Field. Sue me, Sounders fans.
I'm told (though didn't confirm) that when someone in Seattle wants to build something new, they have to donate a certain percentage of the building's cost to public art. This is amazing, and something that other cities should follow suit with. There's nothing like walking around the downtown of a city and stumbling upon random public art. I'm sure that none of those funds are directed towards the gum wall, but the wall is too beautiful to not post a picture of.
That's all from me today. Tonight, I'm headed for the first time to Starfire Sports Complex for the Seattle Sounders FC - Kitsap Pumas clash in the Open Cup. Try not to overdose on soccer, America.
And remember to shower (but not for an excessive amount of time if you live in California).