It is officially the eve of the WPS Championship. Most of my teammates are off at the movies but I stayed back to tell the world, via my blog, what it is like to be at the Super Bowl of Womens Pro Soccer.
If you live under a cave and have not read our incessant tweets about our new penguin friend, then its worth starting an account just for that. On the way up to Rochester on our rock star bus (we normally travel school bus standard) full with flat screen TV’s and actual outlets, we decided to stop off and stretch our legs. No matter where we go as a group, the Cheesesteaks always find a way to entertain. This time, it was trying to win prizes (Ipods, gift certificates, stuffed animals) with games that revolve around enormous claws or scissors.
After numerous unsuccessful tries to win the more “classy” prizes, we thought we would test our skills with the big claw. Natasha Kai zeroed in on a prize penguin. Her tactics were remarkable. She dragged the penguin closer to the exit shoot and then pounced on it at just the appropriate time. Our entire team was anxiously watching on and we even had a group of spectators that were just as intrigued as we were. The claw grabbed the penguin around the belly and a hush went over the crowd. Would the claw have the strength to pull the big bird in? Ah! Indeed it did!
As the penguin came tumbling down the shoot into our open arms, the crowd erupted with joy. It was as if we won the World Cup. We were jumping up and down, screaming at the top of our lungs, and laughing. The best $1.00 we had ever spent. Sweet sweet victory.
We all decided to name the penguin, Petey, and he would now be our adopted mascot for the weekend. He would be treated like a god and would attend EVERY team function….meetings, practices, meals…everything. We insist on taking pictures of him doing the most absurd things. Petey lifting weights, Petey in the sauna, Petey on the treadmill, Petey talking on the phone, Petey kicking a soccer ball, Petey wearing a chef’s hat, Petey wearing Tasha’s work boots, Petey doing interviews (yes interviews, that is not a joke).
Petey has become quite the celebrity. He had more action at WPS media day than our entire team combined. Yes, we had to translate for him (he only speaks Penguinese and Whale) but he came across as a confident, passionate penguin that loves his Cheesesteaks.
Petey has obviously been the highlight of the weekend so far but there is still plenty more to come. Tomorrow marks the most important game of the season and at 4pm EST on Fox Sports Net, we will see how we match up against the #1 team in the league.
It is a dream final. The two top seeds facing off. Winner takes it all. This final has eerie similarities to last years Championship, however, we are much more prepared this time around. Last year we had a to play a game coming off of two double over-time victories, a 6 hour plane trip, and 2 days of rest.
This year is a different story, after our convincing win against majicJack, we have had an entire weeks rest and only a “short” bus trip to Rochester. While we are up against a team named “Western New York Flash”, they could also be called “Bay Area FC Gold Pride 2”. We have our chance at redemption and our entire motto this season has been “unfinished business”.
It will be difficult to contain Marta, Sinclair, Morgan, Seger, and the rest of the Flashers but it is not an impossible task. We have done it before and we are fully capable of doing it again. With WPS Coach of Year, Paul Riley, and WPS Player of the Year, Vero Boquete, anything is possible.
So, wish us luck! Watch out for Petey on the bench tomorrow supporting his team and hopefully after 90 minutes of action packed, competitive soccer the Cheesesteaks will lift the WPS Trophy once and for all. An entire season of blood, sweat, and tears all comes down to this. We are ready.