June 18, 2014
DON'T BLAME IT ON RIO, DAY 7
A rare day off from the daily grind, but not from work
SAO PAULO, Brazil - For the first time that I can remember in my eight World Cups, I actually had a day off on Wednesday.
There was no USA training or media availability and no games to cover; England will tussle with Uruguay here on Thursday.
Then again, a day off is a relative thing. When you're a journalist at the World Cup, you have to be productive and write a story or two, starting with this diary.
It has turned out to be a productive day in so many ways.
After sleeping for 9 1/2 hours (making up for the sleep lost returning from Natal), I actually got an opportunity to hit the recumbent bicycle for a little more than a half-hour. Then a bunch of American journalists walked to the soccer museum at Estádio do Pacaembu. It was a mile walk on a beautiful morning.
The museum was everything Brazilian futbol, from the World Cup to the local Sao Paulo clubs.
There were many intriguing exhibits to an alternate history of Brazil winning every World Cup - interactive interviews with Franz Beckenbauer and Paolo Rossi, among others, to the lowest point - the 1950 final defeat to Uruguay at Maracana Stadium - to a video and photo carousel celebrating the career of the great Pele.
On a balcony inside the museum, you could see the beautiful stadium. I looked at the stands, the way they went up at a severe angle and I had a deja vu feeling that I had been there before - with Soccer America's Paul Gardner and several other soccer journalists during our two-week trip to the Pele Cup in 1987. I did some research and lo and behold, it was the same stadium I watched Palmeiras and Corinthians in August, 1987.
Great stadium smack in the city center.
My roommate, Filip Bondy, is annoyed that I am not giving him any fodder for his daily diary by not doing anything that would annoy him. Oh well, you can't always get what you want.
In honor of my soccer roots, I wore a shirt from the Rochester Lancers reunion from 2010. They had a number of Brazilians on their teams, including Eli Durante, Mauro Felipe, Claude Campos, Nelson Bergamo, and of course, Carlos Metidieri, among others.
Never forget your roots, especially your soccer or futbol roots in Brazil.