Aug. 15, 2000

Sunday, August 13

Today was a really, really early day. We were downstairs for breakfast at 6:00 a.m. and then left for our game which was two hours from our hotel. We were split into two teams because of our large numbers, and we played a club’s first and second team. Things are starting to come together and both games went much better than yesterday’s game. Afterward we were able take a tour of a stadium and walk on a professional field. Then we ate lunch with some of the players we had played against earlier this morning. At one point they tapped out a beat on the table and Boof [Kelly Lindsey] and I showed them how Americans “danced.”

After lunch we walked around the complex near the stadium, which had pools, water slides and a playground but it also had a part of the tropical forest which had not been cut down. It was really nice and I was surprised to learn that the professional players live above the stadium. No commute. How nice.

We were able to watch an under-20 club game and then a professional game where we saw the team Vasco de Gama and their star forward Romario, who also plays for the Brazilian national team. The security at the games were crazy! There were police in riot gear with shields and big scary dogs. The fans get absolutely crazy, jumping, singing and waving banners. The Americans in attendance, however, were a little more reserved, just trying to blend.

After the game we went to a really nice restaurant that, like the first meal, served tons of meat, but this place had great desserts! We arrived home at about 1:30, exhausted but grateful because it was a fun day. (Today was Fathers’ Day in Brazil so, in the spirit, we wished our fathers a happy Fathers’ Day — in spirit.)

Monday, August 14

Wow! Today was a very relaxing day. We left for a resort at 10:00 a.m. Yes, 10! We were actually able to sleep in! We had a light practice where we worked on free kicks and then spent the rest of the day at the resort. We had a delicious meal and — in my “expert” opinion — probably the best one we have had here. We walked around and saw a beautiful lake and landscape, including waterfalls that we went running through. The flowers, the trees and the peacefulness were so nice, especially right before classes start up again.

We showered and then went to dinner. We went to a pizzeria, and the pizza we had was probably the closest thing we will have to American food. We can chalk this up as another great day!