Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Clockwork Orange

The summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, I played in an international youth soccer tournament in the Netherlands.

It was The Biggest Deal Ever. I was so proud to be participating. So excited for the opportunity. I thought I was hot stuff. Playing soccer in Europe!

I don't remember much of the soccer. I can't even remember how many games we played. I remember that we were absolutely smoked by a Russian team. That we lost to another American team. That we played a Dutch team and traded pins in the handshake line. I don't know if I scored a goal or had an assist or made a positive impact on the field. I know that it felt like my Olympics. It felt like my World Cup.

The Biggest Deal Ever.

And I can't remember the bulk of the reason that we went: the soccer. What I do remember is the travel.

It was magic. Holland was magic. Magic and tulips and wooden shoes. I saw Anne Frank's house. I walked through a palace.

I was 14 and the world seemed so, so big.

I had forgotten, up until three weeks ago, how that felt. Overwhelming and calming. This world is so big that I will never see all of it. But if I can only see a piece - if it can all awe me like this - than I can be okay with only experiencing a sliver of it.

I loved Holland. I loved how old everything seemed. I loved how the Dutch appreciated soccer. I loved seeing Amsterdam Arena, learning about Ajax, the fabled soccer club.

From the summer of 1997 on, when I watched international soccer, I loved to watch Holland play. It reminded me of a special time in a special place. Plus, they wore really awesome orange jerseys. And played the game beautifully.

All this to tell you all that I'm awfully excited that Holland advanced to the World Cup final.

But I should mention that I have Spain picked in my office pool.

And significant German heritage.

So I think I'll just cheer for a good game.


Lauren said...

I know that in the small MI town that I'm from, too many people let life just pass them by. They have no desire to see anything or go anywhere except for the 5 square miles where they grew up. It's scary out there, but that's no excuse not to see the world through other people's eyes. It will change you forever in the best of ways. The world is HUGE. But just remember the words of St. Augustine, “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

Make it a point to spend some time every year trying to read a bit more of that book, let go, do some crazy stupid things; you won't regret it. When you get to relfect back on your life, you'll be so glad you experienced all of it.

Kari said...

I spent part of last week with some of my extended. Their extent of traveling has been to the All Inclusive resorts in the DR and cruises. They think they are well traveled and worldly. When my "twin" cousin went to Cuba she took a black cab tour of Havana as she felt it was too dangerous to get out and explore -- I spent 2 days exploring the city and eating in none touristy place. While I love them dearly, their necks are pretty red and a lot of their views would make Bush seem like a liberal. So what I am getting at is -- you see the world when you travel, read etc. You know what the world is about. You experience life. You may want to experience more of it, but with time, the confidence will come and you will develop the travel skills to make it more spontaneous. My family is often shocked at the places I will walk and areas that I travel to -- but I didn't start doing this overnight -- I work in an inner city neighbourhood and I have traveled a lot (often by myself). The important thing is that you have that seed of wanting to see more, to experience more and with time you will.

Mrs. Architect said...

I love this post. I feel the same way when I travel - which is part of the reason I love it so much.

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