|at Giants Stadium|
Continued from Becoming RBNY
We dutifully made our way to the dreadful Giants Stadium for every home match.
We continued to make friends in our section, and spent time in the pub after every match so my daughter could meet more players and I could take more pictures, and she could collect more autographs. She was so devoted to the players that she knew all their names, many of them remembered her from week to week, and eventually it seemed that they all knew her by name.
|with Jozy Altidore|
|with John Wolyniec|
Things looked up as former Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel, who had played at River Plate and Aston Villa, took the league by storm, and drove the team to a new level. The artificial turf was rough on his knees, but he was a leader and he marched through all adversity.
|in the tunnel for the 2008 MLS Cup|
We lost the MLS Cup final, and I have always suspected that we would have won if she had been in that tunnel to wish them well.
The following season was filthy with talk of the new stadium. Rumors and facts and facts and rumors and pictures and projections and rumors and more rumors. It was exciting.
Then it happened! In 2010, Red Bull Arena opened.
|with Seth Stammler|
The new stadium was beautiful. It was comfortable. The players were excited about it.
And good stuff kept happening! Halfway through the 2010 season, Thierry Henry arrived at Red Bull Arena and signed a contract.
|with Juan Pablo Angel|
Then he bought a home in SoHo. He took the subway to work. He bragged about being a New Yorker. he was in the media and showing-up all over town.
And more kept happening! Henry convinced former teammate Rafa Marquez to join him from Barcelona and we had two amazing international stars joining Juan Pablo Angel on the Red Bulls! These two additions to the team raised the quality of everyone's play.
I had totally forgotten about the silent auction, and I received a call from a woman in the front office reminding me that I had won a private meet and greet with the team after a match. Since the season was drawing to a close, she needed to book a date as soon as possible. I explained that it was actually an event for my daughter, but wasn't sure it would be OK if two of us were there. She didn't know me, but when I told her who my daughter was, she knew her! Everyone knew her! There would be no problem for the two of us to attend.
|Red Bull Arena construction|
We picked a Saturday in September.
We planned our visit. My daughter is required to donate ten percent of her holdings to charity, and she chose Sporting Chance Foundation would be the recipient of her largess.
After the match we went to the pub, and were met by a woman who gave us passes and a brand new children's size jersey. We were escorted to the press room and we waited with two women. I handed over my camera to one of them and we waited. We posed for pictures at the podium and in front of the team logo.
Eventually, the door opened and a group of three or four players arrived. They all knew her and there were heartfelt greetings all around. We posed for a picture, and I instantly realized that I did not need to be in any of the pictures, that this was her event. She gave Seth her check and I thought we would all weep. We chatted and they all signed her new Red Bulls jersey.
|with Rafa (The most |
handsome man in the world?)
Juan Pablo Angel arrived and said he remembered her beautiful eyes from an event earlier in the season. He picked her up and gave her a hug. He is always pleasant and chatty. Each time I have been in a social event with him, he has been a regular guy talking about regular things.
This went on for some time, and there was only one player left: Titi.
|with Thierry Henry|
The night is etched in our collective memories and we each remember different details. It's an event we will talk about the rest of our lives.
The season ended and we renewed our seats immediately.
The 2011 season included more wins and more heartbreak, the departure of Juan Pablo Angel, more meet and greets, and the MLS All-Star match. We saw Titi, David Beckham, and the rest of the MLS-best play a match against Manchester United. It was impressive. It was amazing.
The team hired a new president of operations -- a former executive from the NBA. The promise of improvements was in the air.
Change was in the air.
Loving The Move, Hating The Change