When you go on disability, time management gives way to time utilization. Two entirely different things. Time management means that you have a lot to do and a finite length of time to do it in. Time utilization means that you have too much time and must find out what to do with it.
As I look for ways to be productive, I also wind up testing what I can physically do. That is what happened Saturday, when a good friend, Dan, one-half of the “Unholy Union Blog” took me to my first Philadephia Union soccer game at PPL Park.
Being a noob Dooper, it was definitely a great experience. It started with hanging about a dozen u-turns until I narrowed down the entrance to the parking lot that I wanted. Once my u-turn OCD settled, I parked by the river in the handicapped spot.
I had left early, because I had to pick up friends in South Philly. Since I wasn’t sure what traffic would be like in South Philly with the Phillies and Flyers game, and I wanted to make sure we weren’t too far away, I left about dawn. Game was at 4. I got us there at 1:30. Welcome to river gazing time.
I got to see someone try to fly a kite higher than the landing patterns at Philly International. It got really high up there, on a double spool system, but after five minutes, I wished I had a giant sling shot to try to bring it down.
I watched from a distance as a strange ballet of inflatables started going up outside the stadium. Surreal enough was the giant Loaf of Bimbo (Say Beeembo!) bread, as well as what at first looked like the Stay-Puft marshmallow man from “Ghostbusters”. Soccer goals and other carnival kitsch set up.
We still sat in the car until 2:30. We texted, read Twitter and just watched for dead fish and bodies in the river. We talked trash about some of the people who walked by and we looked for opposing fans to go “hooligan” on, which with the wimps we are, would amount to sticking our tongues out long after they pass.
I used a porta-potty in the lot. It actually had a sign warning people not to drink any of the water. Ya think?
We finally made our way through Toyota Plaza, where I saw a dancing taco. Reminder: I do not drink, so these are real.
We also passed what they called a “beer garden” which was six round stand-up tables on grass with a portable beer tap. In a sign of how strange the day might be, the “beer garden” was empty.
We saw WYSP playing music but no one was listening. VerizonFIOS was having a bean bag toss. Bimbo (Say Beeembo!) was giving out what seemed to be muffins. Other general grade school fair games were going on. Since I suck at these activities, let’s just say we got through the Toyota Plaza faster than a Toyota with a stuck gas pedal.
We kept walking, because you know where I parked would be the exact opposite of our entrance.
I did buy a fitted (with my head, no way) Union cap to both represent and to keep the direct sunlight off me, since one of my meds requires that. I rocked that cap.
We got in, and after visiting the necessary (pee break number two, not a number two break), celebrated the greatest thing to happen ever in sports: DOLLAR DOG DAY! After ordering two dozen or so, plus a Diet Coke since I cannot have beer anymore (Yeah, feel sorry for me), we started up to our seats, which are actually pretty good. They are in the corner looking east.
They were Row R. Now comes the fun part. Me, a crapload of dollar dogs, and open soda, and my oxygen tank trying to climb up to Row R. I made it, but I also carried some of the dogs with body parts better left unmentioned.
Also, a woohoo: Free WiFi!!!!
Seriously, this was enough of a challenge that I didn’t even think of how sad it may have looked. I finally sat down and took about a minute to catch my breath. We were still about a half-hour from game time, but I passed the time talking with Dan and Angelo, and keeping an eye out for any marauding hooligans.
Finally, the game started. In the far end of the stadium are sections for the SONS OF BEN and THE RIVER END. Let’s just say that these are the most rabid fans; profane, funny, dedicated, and never still or quiet. When the opposition was introduced, they turned their backs to them. They kept chants and songs up throughout the game, and took great pride in recognizing the type of parents the umpires had.
They have a drum and smoke kettles. No one else in the stadium does, and we can be grateful. I loved watching them all afternoon. Probably more than any sport, the fan base is a huge part of the entire game experience.
The game itself was not fast. Not even sort of fast. I actually figured some stuff out on my own. Proud of myself. Lot’s of middle of the field back and forth action, lot’s of booing the refs, especially when they handed out a RED CARD to the Union. This was not popular. This encouraged the use of a seven second delay in the stadium, if one existed. This also meant that the Union would be playing with only ten men. Soccer uses the equivalent of a small army for each game.
I also enjoyed Number 24 for the San Jose Earthquakes, who was obviously paying tribute to Sidney Crosby or the National Diving Championships.
I met an old work buddy, who also used to work for the video store chain that I used to general manage. It was good to see Josh again.
I peed again. In the bathroom, not the concourse. This is not Vets Stadium.
I went back to my seat, and saw my first goal scored, by Le Toux on a penalty kick. I don’t care how, I just wanted a goal. And I got just that, A goal.
The game ended with the Union winning 1-0. Yay! HUZZAH!
We then started back to the car while the Unholy Union Blog tried to set up a podcast. I passed a crazy throng of people and realized they were giving away free loaves of Bimbo (Say Beeeembo!) Honey Wheat bread. I decided to queue up for a free loaf, no matter how gauche it was. I got to listen to the monetary whizzes of the future generation, as two kids managed to snag four loaves apiece. They then discussed how much they saved over buying that bread in the stores, like they were planning to buy 4 loaves of Honey Wheat bread on the way home. They figured $8 each, even though the price of $2.49 was printed plainly on the wrapper. You do the math, they obviously couldn’t.
We pulled out of the parking lot, cursed at a lot of the other cars in line, behaved when the cops went by, and started back up 291 to home.
A great day, even though I was really exhausted at the end. My oxygen pack did it’s job. I did mine, which was to see what I could do.
Who is taking me where next?