THE US WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ARE CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! What a whirlwind the last few days have been. A short recap:
We flew out of Amsterdam to Lyon, France, on Monday. We were in Lyon because that is where we had tickets to two semi-finals and the final games of the Woman’s World Cup. When we first got to Lyon, we were met by a thunderstorm, which promptly took out the power to our hotel and the surrounding blocks. We made a very wet and dark trudge over to one of the few places that had power, and were able to get our first taste of French cuisine. Luckily, both the power outage and the storm were outliers for the next couple of days.
On Tuesday, we grabbed a late lunch before heading over to an Airbnb to meet up with a group of 9 other friends / friends of friends who we were watching the games with. We immediately decked ourselves out in red white and blue, including temporary tattoos and face paint, and headed out to the stadium, a cool 7 hours before the game started. We initially made our way to a bar that was hosting the American Outlaws, the US soccer fan club. However, by the time we got there, the bar was out of beer, so we decided to go to a local store and just buy some wine for the train ride. We managed to finally get to the stadium after multiple metro and train transfers without losing anyone in the process, and got to watch one of the most exciting matches I have seen between the US and England. The US emerged victorious in a 2-1 nail biter. Since Lyon had not yet figured out to manage its transit system for the almost 60,000 people that were using it after the game, we did not get back to the Airbnb until almost 2 AM.
The next day was our tourism day, since we actually had some time before the second semi-final. Lyon is an interesting city in that its historical expansion is clearly demarcated from east to west. The eastern part of the city is overlooked by La Baselique Notre Damede Fourviere, which itself was built on ancient Roman theater ruins which are still in use today. This area is dominated by small winding streets that run up a steep incline. The middle section of the city sits between the Saone and Rhone rivers, and has more shopping promenades and plazas. The eastern side is basically like any other modern European city. In the afternoon, we all met up again to go do the whole soccer thing again, this time watching the Netherlands squeak past a very strong Swedish team, which set the stage for the finals.
Since the finals match was not until the following Sunday, our group split up to go do short trips around Europe. Instead of doing Alps hiking excursions or mountain biking, we decided we needed some actual vacation days, so we headed to Nice in the French Riviera. The train rides from Lyon to Nice were somewhat of a nightmare, since it turns out we left right around the beginning of French vacation season. We essentially spent 9 hours in train stations and overpacked trains before getting into Nice at 10 PM. At least the hotel had air conditioning. To make full use of vacation mode, we booked beach chairs and umbrellas. However, the umbrella proved no match for the power of the sun vs. my very pale skin, and I proceeded to get a very bad sunburn.
We limped our way back (literally, I forgot to mention I stepped on a rusty nail as well) to Lyon on Saturday to make sure we had plenty of time to rest up for the Finals. It could not have been a better experience. We got to see Rapinoe seal her golden boot and golden ball award with an impeccable penalty kick, watch Rose Lavelle seal the game with a scorcher from the top of the box, and be part of the general pandemonium as the US got to celebrate its second consecutive and fourth overall win. And yes, the entire stadium did in fact boo Gianni Infantino and chant “Equal Pay” during the awards ceremony. It was glorious.
On to the news.
STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes
Why: Because Iran has no reason to adhere to a nuclear pact that a prominent backer (AKA the US) already reneged on.
ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Equal Pay
Why: Because speaking of the economics of the USMNT and the USWNT, the difference between the two is clear – especially when one team continuously under performs, while the other is the pinnacle of the sport.
LAW THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Epstein Charged With Sex Trafficking Of Minors
Why: Because for some reason it sounds less bad than saying this guy paid money to fuck kids, and get recruit other kids for him and his friends to fuck. Is that clearer?
SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: California Gets Rocked
Why: Because a series of very strong earthquakes hit Southern California earlier this week. This is a reminder to make an earthquake kit, or at least update the one you made in 1994.
SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: I BELIEVED THAT WE WOULD WIN!
Why: Because getting to watch that in person is something I will never forget.
MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. watch)
What: Knives Out
Why: Because Rian Johnson makes good movies, and this one looks like it will be another.
MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: What Is A Raconteur Again?
Why: Because it is interesting to hear how similar this is to their previous album, and yet how far away that sound now is from contemporary music and rock.
PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. look)
Why: Because these are almost as a good as being there (sorry).
LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: Madness Til The End
Why: Because even though Mad Magazine has been in decline from a cultural relevance standpoint for a number of decades, Alfred E. Neuman’s satirical face is something you just always kind of expect to see around.
VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Make More Marios
Why: Because Mario Maker 2 takes everything that the first one did well, but put on a system people actually own.
THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Tickets To The Women’s World Cup In 2023
Why: Because Brian deserves it.
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