World Cup Finals/Shanghai update

Shanghai was really a blast. We just got home an hour ago as I write.

We went to the Women’s World Cup finals on Sunday night, with a group of 44, all put together and orchestrated by the mighty Scott Kronick. Thanks Scott.

He hired a bus to drive us over to the stadium and got us amazing tickets. We were in the same section as the families of the American players, which really added to the fun. They were also staying at the Hilton, where w were and we ended up hanging out for two days with the Kai family, of Natasha Kai. They are from Hawaii and are great, salt-of-the-earth people. They have a 9-year-old son Jerelle, and he and Jacob and Sam Kronick hit it off big time.

The games themselves were really great. The Us crushed Norway 4-1. The whole stadium except the 200 or so of us in our section were rooting for Norway. We were told it was that way every game of the tourney against all opponents and in each of the four or five Chinese cities. That is sort of upsetting, — and surprising, given the warm welcome we generally get. Jacob really got into the nationalism of it all, reveling in the chants of U-S-A” and going nuts on each goal.

I rooted hard for Brazil against Germany, to no avail. Lots of Germans all around us.I tried to my best to start an international incident by heckling the Germans and rooting for Brazil — all to no avail on any front. It was very exciting.

Eli whined for an hour that he wanted to go home. then it ended with a tremendous display of fireworks and confetti and loud music. On the way out he said, “Can we go to the next World Cup?”

As a longtime Olympics skeptic, it was good to be swept away by this event…
and then two days later we went to t he Special Olympics Opening Ceremony. It is the biggest Special Olympics ever and it was a tremendous spectacle. I had no idea it would be so elaborate. Virtually every significant Chinese celebrity was there, including Yao Ming, Yo Yo Ma, Ling Ling, Jackie Chan, several beautiful actresses and president Hu Jintao — who never appears in public. Not to mention arnold, Colin Ferrell and others.

But definitely the real stars with the Special Olympians and their families. There were many, many countries represented and the parade was really touching. They looked so happy, including the parents. And as a parent, it’s not hard to relate to them and how happy they must feel. You know there have been some hard times involved and it must be so nice to have this night of celebration.

so much more I could write about it, but I m tired.

Jacob was in a patriotic frenzy.

Sam Kronick and his mom Lisa Wei cheering hard.

This show how close to the field we were.

The kai boys and mackenize, daughter of
defender Tina Ellerton.

Jacob was smiling like this all night.

Anna and Emma Kirkwood feel patrotic.

Mr. Kai rocks.

Sam and Scott Kronick

Long night for anna, even though she left after one game.

We rooted hard for Brazil.

World Cup ice cream: apparently delicious.

Party’s over for Brazil.

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