First Football (Soccer) Match

If you didn’t know this about me, I love sports. All sports.  I love watching them, playing them, you name it and I’ll try it.  In my family, if you don’t like sports, well, good luck!  Just filled out my March Madness bracket the other day and like most, it’s already in the toilet.

I grew up a dancer (ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, hip hop, modern, you get the picture) but dabbled with sports in between.  Had my time playing softball – not for me.  I really liked baseball but once I was at a certain level I was asked to leave because I was a “liability”/they were afraid I was going to get hurt by the pitching machine.  In high school I played golf, and still play whenever I can.  When I lived in Arizona, being able to play golf had its bonuses as you can play all year long!

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 20.05.34In terms of watching sports, I’ll watch anything.  I like:

Baseball (Go Cubs!)


American Football (Go Pack Go!)


Hockey (Let’s Go Hawks!)


Now Football (or as we silly Americans call it, Soccer) is a sport I didn’t grow up with.  Sure, I went to a few matches in high school and played it in gym class, but it isn’t as popular in the states as it is everywhere else in the world.  So, living in the UK and trying to take in as much culture as possible, I experienced my first football match on 15th March 2014 – a Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Norwich.

IMG_3194We arrived at St. Mary’s Stadium on a surprisingly pleasant and sunny Saturday to a sea of red.  It’s nice to see people supporting the Saints through jerseys, t-shirts, scarves and beyond.

IMG_3190 IMG_3212We purchased out tickets through the University of Southampton and were seated in one of the corners.  A little worried about these seats, I was happily proven wrong.  The stadium holds a little over 30,000 people so there isn’t a bad seat in the house!  We were early enough to grab a pie, cider and watch warm-ups.

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With 20 minutes before the match, more than half the seats were emqpty.  But, as I soon learned, the seats fill up about 5 minutes before the whistle blows.  We contributed this to the fact that you can’t bring alcohols past the concession stands, so everyone drinks before finding their seats.





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When the match stated, the atmosphere changed dramatically.  It was a bit hard to understand the chants and cheers of the fans but there was one I did recognize – “When the Saints go Marching In”.  Having gone to a Catholic school for part of my life, and our mascot being the I.C. Saints, this was a familiar tune.  So, I joined in as best as I could.

Southampton beat Norwich that sunny Saturday, 4-2.   Not bad for my first, but definitely not last, Football match!

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A True Lambeau Field Experience

IMG_2735Isn’t that the most beautiful picture you’ve ever seen?  Well, maybe not EVER, but it sure is pretty.  These are the tickets my brother got me for Christmas to my first Packers game in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Now, I’m from Illinois, so it would be assumed that I’m a Bears fan.  And for a while, when I look back at pictures of myself as a child, my parents dressed me in Bears outfits.  Fortunately, my brother and I spent many summers with our cousin John, a fellow Packers fan, in Wisconsin.  Our Grandma and Grandpa Neshek are from Northern Wisconsin and still have a cottage up there.  We spent many warm summers and cold winters swimming, jet skiing, snowmobiling, eating cheese, drinking beer and and becoming honorary Wisconsinites.  Alas, our love for the Packers grew every time we drove over the Leo Frigo Bridge and saw Lambeau in the distance.

When my brother said he bought tickets for Sunday’s Steelers vs. Packers game, I went and found some essential Packers gear.



We almost didn’t make the 2 1/2 hour drive from Kenosha, WI to Green Bay due to the snow.  Fortunately, the state of Wisconsin did an excellent job of clearing the roads,  making our journey possible.  My sister-in-law was called off work on Sunday and was able to join us too!



We made it to Lambeau field and started the layering process.  It was FREEZING but we made sure to wear long underwear, jeans, shirts, sweatshirts, snow pants, jackets, hats, gloves and scarves.  After grabbing a few drinks, we set out from the car to the main tailgating parking lot.  On the way, we ran into some true Wisconsin people in their orange camouflage and head-to-toe Packers gear.

IMG_2745When we finally made it inside we grabbed a Miller Lite, found our seats and chanted “GO PACK GO” with the 77,999 screaming fans.

IMG_2769IMG_2779While a win would have been great, the experience was still amazing and one I won’t forget.  Definitely one of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever received!