The trip was planned months in advance but it really snuck up on me...especially because I had just begun to settle in after Italy (yeah, I know boo boo). The weather reported varying conditions but thankfully we were just in town for a game...what could have been a potentially unpleasant packing experience was quite simple: chucks, jeans and plenty of America gear. I was in charge of "team shirts," of course I remembered the week we were leaving...what's a girl to do when you need cute America uniforms with a limited amount of time? Hop on Etsy, duh...in case you were wondering American flag tank tops pulls up some great finds. Shout out to GoodieTees, for the stylish swag and quick shipping!
We arrive in Winnipeg Sunday evening, when we asked the rental car guy about directions to the hotel he laughs, points and says it's about 30 seconds away. Odd response dude, then we found the hotel...it was probably about 30 seconds away. After we checked into the hotel we decided to explore Winnipeg. We headed down to the lobby and I asked the front desk attendant for restaurant recommendations...she gives me a perplexed look, sassily mumbles if anything is open (it's about 8 pm...) and begins her arduous Google search. She gives us a vegan burger place and a "fancy" burger place...she must know we're from America? When I ask for directions she informs me that "it is downtown"...she loves her job (PS Canada stop giving ambiguous directions). We set off to explore downtown Winnipeg, that didn't last long. It could have been that it was late on a Sunday evening (Winnipeg shuts down earlier than Malibu) or maybe that we accidentally stumbled into the Canadian skid row but it was a ghost town. Now we know what the customs official meant when he said, "hopefully this will encourage them to clean up their act." We quickly gave up "discovering" Winnipeg and decided to grab some grub. We made a hard pass on the vegan food and went for the fancy burger. If you find yourself in Winnipeg, I advise you to find yourself at Nuburger. It was phenomenal.
Putting a team like the U.S. in Winnipeg was a pretty smart move for Canada, obviously going to bring in a lot of tourism aka $$$...I see what you're doing Canada. Props. Thankfully the games were in the afternoon so we could sleep in...you know because we had such a hard travel day yesterday? We wake up to a fresh box of Tim Hortons' donuts, there are more of these than Starbucks so they had to be good right? Wrong. Canada the donut is delicious as is...what are you doing? Whatever. We gear up and head to the stadium. It's massive. We arrive at the stadium at 1 (when the doors open) so we can get parking and check out the store...did you really go to the event if you didn't get merch? We beeline for the store...all Canadian apparel...wrong store. From across the arena we see a line beginning to form, we quickly ditch the Canada store and head to the official Fifa store. The line wasn't too long, this should go by fast? Wrong. It was over an hour! We finally get into the store and it's mayhem in a confined space. We grab what we like as we go and make decisions later...we gotta get out of there fast. We make our purchases and make our way back out into the sunlight.
It's basically all Americans. One of the best parts of attending an event like the World Cup or the Olympics, is the unity and nationalism you see in the fans...and you better believe Americans put out. We look like a frat party on the Fourth of July. It's as awesome and obnoxious as you are envisioning...if you don't know why the world hates us you do now.
The. Nigerian. Fans. Were. Epic. There were patches of them throughout the crowd and you wanted to be wherever they were. They were singing, dancing, waving flags and even had their own instruments. After the first couple of minutes America decided Nigeria was our team. Sorry Sweden. One player in particular, good Lord was she fast! Sweden scored first, you heard a couple cheers and polite applause. But when Nigeria scored the crowd went wild. It was like this the whole game. Nigeria ended up tying the game in the last minutes and America lost it. For some perspective, Sweden is ranked 5th and Nigeria is ranked 33rd. Upset. Everybody loves the underdog.
There was a little break between games and you better believe Henry and I took a nap. Alarm clock: a roaring crowd. Game time. There's really nothing like being in a packed stadium watching your country play...the atmosphere is electric. It was a sea of red white and blue! With a combination of the U.S. defense the first half and the fact that it was our team playing this game was a little more stressful than the first. But that's what makes a good game? You could definitely tell these teams, technically speaking, were better. There was more/better passing and we're the U.S...come on, the caliber. The first half was a little touch and go but we came out on top in the second. Great game. Gotta love a double header.
And now it's Tuesday, time to mosey on home. Winnipeg it's be real, thanks for the memories.