Day Thirty Eight (trigesimo oitavo dia)
I slept well after the traumatic-run-injury and many copos de vinho tinto (glasses of red wine!). I peaked at my clock around 6:00am and the next thing I knew it was 11:30am! I guess the stress and wine took more out of me than I realized.
Unfortunately while very well-rested, I woke up to a sticky knee. I gimped into the bathroom and took the pre-wrap off my hands and then attempted to remove the gauze from my knee. The antibiotic cream had dried and the gauze was literally stuck inside my scraped-up knee. Awesome. I ran the tub faucet and stood beneath its stream in a meek effort to not make it worse. After about 10 minutes of gently rubbing and tugging the gauze came free and I sighed with relief. I decided to leave my cuts out in the open today (because I now feared gauze and the Target bandaids don’t stick anyway). I was not going running. John and I got ready and headed to Pic-Nic; he was getting picked up for his game at 1:00pm. After our galaos, I left him and Ken and went home to walk Romeo. It was a little chilly out, but I couldn’t bear the thought of putting pants on. I opted for shorts and didn’t regret it. Lina, Ernes, their son Kevin, and Xana picked me up just after 2:00pm.
Aguia’s home field is in Arrifes, (a-heef-sh) just north of Ponta Delgada. This field also happens to be where New England Rush practiced in June when they were here (the first time Ken, Bobby, John, Majid and the other 15 American players were here). Two other guys came and went again before I got here: JJ and Valerio. Adam is a random and I’m not sure how he fits in, except that I heard a rumor he is Betinho’s (president of Mira Mar) nephew. He has dual citizenship in Portugal and grew up in New Bedford. Majid is Somalian but mostly grew up in Yemen, and moved to the US in high school. Ken is Swiss, but was born in NYC and also holds Japanese citizenship. John and Bobby (as well as myself) were born and bread in the USA. I’m pretty sure Valerio is Brazilian. JJ might be part Portuguese and he’s now playing in El Salvador. This is what I was talking about in the beginning when I said the “Americans” I refer to are not all really “American”.
We had some trouble finding the field, but after asking several pedestrians and physically passing the field a few times, I spotted the stadium lights and we found the hidden driveway. We parked on the street and walked in about 20 minutes into the first half. It was just starting to mist and there was only one small spot of seating that was covered, and about 50 spectators were already smushed there. Lina, Ernes, Kevin, and Xana sat in the first row and I sat in the back next to Pedro. He told me there was no score. Mira Mar was playing alright and they had beaten this team before (and tied once) so I was fairly hopeful. Mira Mar played better toward the end of the half. I finally said to Pedro that I thought they would finish the half with no score and Mira Mar would talk it out and come back to dominate the second half. Not a minute later, Adam scored! Ken got hit in the face with an elbow and went down, hard (I can sympathize). He is morally opposed to diving, so when he didn’t spring back up I knew he was hurt. Henrique ran to his aide and Ken continued to play. A few minutes later, the ref made a terrible call against Ken and Aguia tied it up on a penalty kick. Half over.
Johhny B himself!! On the far side of the field is Adam
I don’t need to get into the specifics of the second half, only so far as to say that my prediction was wrong. Adam’s goal would stand to be the only one scored by Mira Mar. I missed the first few minutes of the second half because I was in the ladies’ room. When I got back, Xana and Lina told me that Ken was not playing—he was injured, sitting in the box, with ice on his neck. What I didn’t know then was that Ken started the second half, went up for a header, and decided he was not fit to play another 45. Sometime before I came back from the bathroom, Aguia scored again. Another Mira Mar player, Marquis, went down hard several times and finally exited the game with a fat lip and I’m sure a concussion. Felipe had also taken himself out, and Mira Mar played down a man. Aguia scored two more times to make the final score 4-1. Ouch. While they were many, many, reckless and somewhat endangering fouls made (quite a few against poor Marquis, who probably should see a doctor) the only card given was to Adam: an Aguia player was blatantly grabbing him where it hurts, Adam threw the guy off him, and was promptly given a yellow card. When Adam and John protested the call the ref told them in English to “shut up”. Really?
As some point during the game, I was exclaiming about the ref’s poor calls (basically all of them). I thought I was screaming an abbreviated form of “Ay Car-rumba!” but it turns out I yelled the slang-word for male genitalia. I got some laughs and some looks, and I immediately followed it up with “Is that bad?” to Pedro who was in stitches. Xana looked at me wide-eyed and told me later. Oops.
We went to drop Xana off at Lina and Ernes’ place in the city but then took her to the mall so she could get some food. She needed a calculator for university, too, and after those errands were done we dropped her off and headed home. We stopped in Furnas and got bolos levedos from the place made famous by my hot springs post. I took a bite from a piece Kevin offered me, but I had ground beef thawing at home—I was going to make sauce after the game. John had beaten me home, and Lina and Ernes felt badly that I was going to cook so late (remember when I said how thoughtful they are? I can’t say it enough). We stopped at Toronto Nights and they gave me a ridiculous amount of leftovers from the dinner they held the night before. And almost an entire pumpkin (squash) pie. Lina told me to make my sauce the next day. As soon as I got home I texted John, who was at Pic-Nic with Ken waiting for me, to haul-ass back to the food. I was starving! It was just as delicious as the night before. John and Ken watched the Arsenal vs. Manchester United game they had missed (Arsenal lost, too. Sorry, Ken). We Skyped with my parents. We commiserated on the state of Mira Mar (not good). This game was a deciding match in what is basically the “Loser’s Cup”, because they were defeated in the Honor Cup. Mira Mar lost a loser’s competition. Does it get any worse?