DON'T BLAME IT ON RIO, DAY 21
ready to take flight one more time, looking forward to home, sweet, home
SAO PAULO, Brazil -- A very weary soul is writing this piece this morning.
The U.S. Soccer media contingent flew back here, arriving at 4:30 a.m.. An hour later, we got to the hotel, went to sleep. Before I knew it, it was 9:30. Breakfast ended at 10, so I scurried out of bed for some energy.
Whatever agility I might have is gone. I feel my internal battery has been charged to perhaps 35 percent. Needless to say, I need more sleep today.
Some of that is from living in the fast lane of the friendly skies the past three weeks.
Including my round-trip to Brazil, I will have taken 10 flights during a three-week span; that includes eight internal flights. I have estimated that I will have traveled 20,000 miles, almost equivalent to a trip around the globe.
I will depart for New York tonight (Wednesday).
Not helping matters is that I will be pulling off back-to-back red-eye flights for the first time in my life. That will certainly stretch the limits of a 62-year-old body.
I have mixed feelings about returning. For the first time in my eight World Cup experiences, I will miss the final. I will be watching the championship game on TV for the first time since 1982, the competition in which I started my love affair with the World Cup. That's when I lived in Brockport, N.Y. I had recently moved from where I had cable TV to an area that was getting cable two weeks after the Cup ended. So, I aimed my rotary antenna atop my house toward Hamilton, Canada and pulled in its live broadcast of the game.
This time I have cable. Hopefully, there will be no thunderstorms or other inclement weather to knock out coverage of what I hope will be Brazil vs. Argentina in the championship game.
On the flip side, I can't wait to get home. The three weeks have exacted much on myself. I am looking forward to the simpler things in life with my wife, Joy, whom I am looking forward to seeing again after three weeks of IM's and not enough in-your-face Skype phone calls.
Joy is planning to pick me up at the train station and we plan to go to BLD's, a popular dining spot in Lake Ronkonkoma, for breakfast or brunch Thursday, if the flight and train schedules are on time. Little Vincent's, which we consider to be the best pizza on Long Island, certainly will be visited a few times in the coming weeks, as will the North Fork, a great drive no matter what the season.
Then it will be back to the grind with the Red Bulls, Cosmos, some NYC FC updates and news, a couple of big-time international soccer games in the metropolitan area and even covering the Brookhaven summer soccer league with the likes of Mattituck, Southold and Shoreham-Wading River high school teams.
A good story is a good story, no matter what the level of soccer.
But before getting back to work again, about 80 winks of sleep should do the trick of energizing this weary sportswriter.