Open Practice

Whoa! Has it really be three weeks since my last post? You would think that being unemployed I’d have all the time in the world to blog away, but I’ve been so busy with other miscellaneous and sundry things that I just haven’t gotten around to it. From earlier post you might have noticed one of the things that keeps me off the street corner is that I have season tickets to the Philadelphia Union Soccer team.


Back on June 21, the longest day of the year, the Union held an open practice for season ticket holders. Paddy and I, along with my friend Steve, jumped at the chance to see the players up close and see how they prepare for a game.

The practice was held at PPL Park where the games take place. Our regular seats are down at the “River End,” or as some would call them the “cheap seats” where all the hooligans sit. For the practice we got to sit in the midfield seats. The first thing that we noticed was that our regular seats are really cheap. The midfield seats are cushioned, and have armrest and cup holders. Plus you have an awesome view of the field!

I was a little afraid that the practice would be nothing more than watching a bunch of skinny guys run up and down the field sweating profusely. Luckily, this was not the case. Since this was the last practice before a big game on following Saturday, they did mostly ball handling activities and practiced setting up plays. It was truly amazing to see athletes at that level (i.e. professionals) kick the ball around.

Paddy, however, was unimpressed. He was there for two reasons. The first was to get a hot dog, fries, and some ice cream. The second was to get his Union tee shirt signed by all the players on the team. He got his hot dog, fries and ice cream and then had to endure the kicking of the ball for a while. As soon as the practice was over, they announced that the team would be available for autographs down front. Paddy immediately said “hey dad, can I go up front now?” Before I could even open my mouth, Paddy worked his way through the crowd and up to the front leaning over the rail talking to the players. Within a minute, I saw his little head pop up and head him say “hey dad! I got a goalies glove!” and he held up a blue and white goalies glove.

I said “dang nation Paddy! You give that glove back to whoever you took it from right now!” I said to Steve “you can’t leave that kid alone for even a minute without him getting into trouble.” Thinking that he conned the glove off of some other kid down there, I worked my way up front to let him have it. When I got there I asked him where he got it. A lady who was standing next to him said he just asked the goalie for it and he gave it to him. She said he gave the other glove to her son.

So it was, Paddy didn’t get his shirt signed by the team. Instead, he got his new, well slightly used, goalies glove signed by the team! I still think he is a little con artist. See photos of the event here.