Sunday, March 22, 2009
Beldar & daughter catch the Houston Dynamo's season opener
Last night, I attended my first-ever professional football game — errr, well, perhaps I should say professional fútbol game — along with my youngest daughter, Molly, and several members of her middle school soccer team. It was the season opener for the Houston Dynamo, the 2006 and 2007 Major League Soccer champions.
As arranged by their coach, Sarah Rogers, Molly and her teammates (along with several other young teams) were invited onto the Robertson Stadium field at the beginning of the game to make a "spirit tunnel" to welcome the visiting-team players to Houston — in this instance, last year's MLS champion, the Columbus Crew.
Molly and I could have a good time going just about anywhere, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the game. The amount of sheer athleticism — speed, body control, and ball-handling dexterity — was obvious even to as unsophisticated a fan as I am. Having the big-screen monitor in the south end-zone on which to watch replays of the most spectacular moments was also a big plus, since it's all too easy to be looking around elsewhere at the particular moment something spectacular happens.
The crowd was a much broader cross-section of Houston than you'd typically see at a Rockets or Texans game — and much more family-oriented. And with just over 16,000 in attendance, Robertson Stadium was full enough to feel like there was a "big crowd," and yet there was enough room for people (including their kids) to wiggle and spread out a bit.
And it was a happy, friendly crowd — with everyone enjoying a beautiful clear spring evening, and lots of very good-natured home-team spirit. All in all, in comparison to other professional sporting events I've been to, I think this was probably the most ... mellow.
Of course there were pretty young women — not limited to the Dynamo Girls who danced at halftime.
The game ended in a 1-1 tie, and it seemed to me that both teams were indeed pretty evenly matched. To invoke a Darrell Royalism, a tie may be like kissin' your sister, but losing is like having to kiss your grandmother, and this was better'n that.
Molly and I resolved to see more Dynamo games this year, and to drag some of her siblings along next time to get them exposed to the sport at this level too.
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