Soccer in the rain

The result was pretty much a foregone conclusion, but for those interested in the details — the U.S. women’s soccer team beat Mexico 4-0.

Sisters Kristie and Samantha Mewis — the pride of Whitman-Hanson Regional High School in Massachusetts — opened the scoring, with Kristie setting up Samantha.

Christen Press scored two goals, and Tobin Heath connected on a rocket shortly after coming into the game, scoring right below where we were standing.

For the players, it was the first of two tune-ups before the team travels to Tokyo for the Olympics.

For the fans at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., it was a chance to see most of the boldfaced names of American women’s soccer — and given the state of the men’s program, most of the boldfaced names of U.S. soccer, period — players like Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Press, Heath, Lindsey Horgan, Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Rose Lavelle (although she didn’t play) and Crystal Dunn.

But whether a player or a fan, it was a night spent in the rain.

Sometimes it was barely more than a drizzle, other times closer to a monsoon, but it was the rain of a release from a heat wave not often seen around these parts (although it shouldn’t be confused with the destructive heat wave in Canada, the likes of which no one has ever seen).

And I must confess, I bellyached about it the whole time, from when I first saw the forecast, to when the sheets of rain were falling on my head and anywhere else they could find to when we got back to Suzi’s parents’ house and I could peel off my soaked clothing.

Clearly, my early pandemic attitude of not worrying about things I couldn’t control has fallen by the wayside, and to be honest, I always figured it would.

Sure, watching sporting events in bad weather can come with a certain perverse pleasure — at least until cars start smashing into each other because no one can see — but that’s from the comfort of inside my house, where it’s warm and dry.

Being out in the rain? Not so much. I’ve hated rain since it kept me from playing baseball as a kid and snow since it stopped being a way to get out of school.

Now they’re just an annoyance, although the rain at Rentschler was an annoyance Suzi, her father and I shared with about 21,000 of our closest friends.

Technically, seeing “In the Heights” was the first thing with did with no restrictions on crowd size or rules on social distancing, but there were only about 12 people in the theater (and amazingly, no one sat right next to, in front of or behind us).

So this game really felt like life’s training wheels coming off. A year ago, I probably would have cringed at the sight of 21,000 people gathered anywhere, and in some parts of the country, I still might.

But all three of us are fully vaccinated, and Massachusetts and Connecticut are two of the top four states for residents being fully vaccinated. We also saw quite a few license plates from New York, which is 11th.

So even as the Delta variant is causing concern, it appears we’re in good shape, at least for now, and I hope we stay that way.

Instead of masks, the protection for the night was from the rain, and it was easier to notice the girls wearing wide, pink headbands like Lavelle’s.

And as Suzi’s father and I ate hot dogs and she ate her popcorn with people huddled under the scoreboard, social distancing was forgotten.

Everyone was just trying to stay out of the rain.






5 thoughts on “Soccer in the rain

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