I don't think there's much argument that this year's World Cup has been great fun from a fan's perspective. From the great stories and moments of the Group Stage, like Costa Rica's terrific run, or Tim Cahill's bolt of lightning that served as Australia's highlight, or John Brooks' life-defining chance to the sublime play of the Germans, Tim Howard's magnificence, the gut-wrenching penalty kick shootouts, and the grinding tension of the knockout rounds, it's been a brilliant display on the world's largest stage.
The only thing that would've been better is actually being there.
So next summer, I'm doing something about that. Canada hosts the 2015 Women's World Cup, and I'm packing up the family truckster and headed north. It may lack Brazil's samba sensibility, only 24 teams will participate, and the stage won't be as large as the one Germany and Argentina take this afternoon, for one 10 year-old girl and her Dad, it might as well be.
A few months ago, my daughter got to meet her idol, Washington Spirit and Canadian National Team midfielder Diana Matheson. My shy kid, who'd be perfectly happy not saying another word if she didn't have to, lit up like a Christmas tree, and told the diminutive Matheson that she was attending the Women's World Cup. So I guess we're pot committed.
My wife has accused me in times past of being a poor planner. As in, I don't plan. So let this post serve as a marker. I've gone public with the fact that we're going to Canada, so if it doesn't happen, I've opened myself to mockery. Of an entirely new sort.
The draw for the 2015 Women's World Cup doesn't take place until December, so we're going to have to wait at least a little while to firm up our arrangements. Matches will be played in Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, and Moncton. (One of these is not like the others.) Our only hard and fast guideline is that we need to see at least one match played by Canada and one by the United States. Oh, and apparently I need to buy my daughter a Canada jersey, since Diana Matheson told her she needed one.
I spent eight days in Atlanta attending the 1996 Olympics. It ranks among the top sporting memories of my life. And I saw two matches in RFK when the U.S. hosted the men's World Cup in 1994. Both of those were all about me. This time I get to experience something on the grand sporting stage with my family, and I'm entirely too excited about that. Messi and Mueller and Robben and Rodriguez and Neymar get replaced by Morgan and Wambach and Marta and Sinclair and Sawa. And Matheson.
I think I'm gonna need a travel agent.