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Two of my very best, very oldest friends in the WHOLE WORLD (aka brother-sister-duo Mark and Emily Cheever) had the amazing opportunity to attend the FIFA WWC FINAL GAME (!!!) in ye olde Canada, so (after Mark returned from a post-game hike on the PCT) I decided to ask them to allow me to live vicariously via a little questionnaire about their experience. Read up on all of that below (all Mark’s answers UNTIL “FOOTNOTES FROM EMILY” at the end), and like, you know, maybe follow them on Instagram (Mark, Emily) to pretend like they are YOUR very best, very oldest friends in the WHOLE WORLD, TOO. HERE WE GO:

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How did this good fortune happen to you?

Well, I happened to attend the benefit of one my partner non-profits at work- Downtown United Soccer Club (great organization!) and lo behold, they had a pair of finals tickets provided by Adidas. I bid on them in silent auction, and Boom- it was so.

Where did you stay, and would you stay there again?

The Hosteling International spot downtown. It was very….hostel-y.

Is Canada like Degrassi? (I have only been to Nova Scotia, and it was not like Ellen Page.)

Never watched Degrassi, though I did have a short lived travel romance with one of the actresses from the show in Mexico some years back. That was fun.

Don’t you feel like their money is cooler than ours?

NO DOUBT. It’s plastic. It’s colorful. It has this little transparent window you can see through it. Tony Montana would approve.

What was the best thing you ate while you were there, if anything?

We had sushi the day after the game which was pretty good. Also dim sum. Vancouver’s Asian food game on point.

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Did you make any new friends in Canada? Did you make any new enemies?

I mean I think we were friends with everyone at the stadium because 🇺🇸️ ya know? No enemies to speak of.

And at the actual game, out of a crowd that large, there were sure to have been obnoxious people. Please tell me about them.

Surprisingly polite and fun crowd. I blame Canada.

Who was your favorite (AND least favorite) WNT soccer player before seeing the WWC final? (And why?)

WOW. Where to start. You know I love me some Pinoe although I felt she never really got going this tournament. Can I select the entire back line as favorites? They were incredible. Krieger and Klingenberg both so solid defensively but really added a great attacking element on the flanks. Becky was the perfect central defender in that you never noticed her and she cleaned up whatever did get through. Julie Johnston didn’t finish as strong, but man what a tournament from her. She’s gonna be a star.

Also shoutout to Christen Press and Ali Krieger cause my heart jumps just a little (A LOT) each time they touch the ball.

Least favorite has to be Sydney Leroux. (And Amy Rodriguez?). But I don’t think it’s necessarily their fault- the 4-4-2 the U.S. was playing at the start placed too much emphasis on the forwards creating. You saw Abby suffer from this too. The 4-2-3-1 was the perfect lineup for this team, and props to Jill Ellis for putting it out there (even if it did take her a while to get there). Still, no me gusta Sydney. And she’s really Canadian. So there.

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Who is your favorite (AND least favorite) WNT soccer player  after seeing the WWC final? (And WHY?)

No doubt here- Carli Lloyd had one of the top 3 performances of any U.S. athlete on the international stage ever. For someone who’s taken a lot of criticism in the media in the past, she raised her game when it mattered most (yes, sports cliche but still!). Her third goal where she owned the Japanese keeper was the stuff of “heat check” legends- someone so in the zone you take the shot because you KNOW it’s going in. ALL HAIL CARLI LLOYD! WE ARE NOT WORTHY. LLOYD FOR PRESIDENT 2020.

Also, Moe Brian really came on. Can’t wait to see her next WC.

Least favorite…. Hmmmmm…. Look the whole team played great and I don’t think I could even not like anyone at this point.

Do you think the Japanese goalie still feels very sad?

I think she’s still in shock. The effects of Carlizilla on the psyche are significant.

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Don’t you feel like the Japanese national anthem is better than the American one, though?

No joke, when it finished the folks in our section all said “that was so pretty”. BUT BETTER THAN AMERICA? HOW DARE YOU BURNSY!

Did people come up with any fun soccer chants during the game? Do you wish they did?

Nothing new than the original, at least not that I could hear. The American Outlaws were in fine form though and kept the energy going throughout the game (even if they couldn’t get “the wave” going)

What was the best display of patriotism you saw?

Ok, so stadium security nearly didn’t let in this woman with a bald eagle mask and flag cape (the mask was a security threat? I dunno). ANYWAYS, she got in and absolutely went nuts- made several big screen appearances. AMURRRRRRRRICA!

Were people a) really drunk, b) not that drunk, c) regular drunk, d) all of the above?

All of the above- but in the best ways. No doubt this was a heavily family friendly crowd, and there’s something awesome to be said for that. Women’s soccer is a lot of fun to watch, but even better because I don’t think you could’ve selected a better team to be role models and heroes for so many young girl athletes growing up in America (boys too!). That said, was there some rowdiness? Sure. But not the unfortunate profanities and vulgar displays that are so often seen at male sporting events. Spectators should take note from this game on how to properly cheer your team on- get loud, get enthusiastic, go HAM but leave the profanity and misogynistic stuff behind.

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Do you trust Hope Solo both on and off the field? (I do.)

I’d trust Hope Solo with my future nephew. But all kidding aside, there’s more to her story that we in the public don’t see, and I’m willing to give her privacy there. But on the field she’s a total boss- best keeper in the world.

Anything else to add?

Yes. I got a bone to pick with FIFA (well many but just one for now). When it was time for the medal ceremony they trotted out these models in tight black cocktail dresses. WHAT AN EMBARRASSMENT. You just had an incredible tournament displaying high class and athleticism from some of the most amazing athletes in the world, and in your concluding moment you push this ridiculous notion of sex appeal and objectification of women with these models. Look, I’m happy for the models if that’s their dream, but there is no place for it here. There is no need for human “trophies” (female or male) to be presented to the victors here- even if it’s just done for the TV audience. If I have girls, I want them to grow up to be strong like the 23 amazing women that comprised our team, not the lineup of objects to be considered only for their looks and not their personalities, determination, or on-field accomplishments. Shame on you FIFA.

FOOTNOTES FROM EMILY:

I’m just proud of my brother for reppin’ some hard core feminism at the end there, only after mentioning HE TOTEZ GOT LAYD BY SUM DEGRASSI BIIIIIIIITCH.

But as far as the crowd at the game goes: There was a big screen shot of one woman who, even before the game, was so happy she was crying. I think her whole excited and blessed vibe really got everyone in the mood for some world class kick-assery.

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