A day in the win column

I shouldn’t even be telling you this because I might loose all my credibility as the new assistant sports editor. Until Tuesday, I had never been to a GW soccer game.

I always wanted to go. I just never had the will to drag myself to Bargain Buggies, rent the car and drive the 25 miles into Virginia – all for a 90-minute game.

While I was excited for my first-ever live GW soccer experience Tuesday afternoon, I was also a little nervous. You see, I went to the volleyball tournament last weekend at George Mason.

No problem, I thought. Just take the Orange Line a few stops to GMU. Yeah, that’s the wrong campus, as I found out a little too late. I then got back on the Metro, rode to the last stop (GMU-Fairfax stop) only to find out GMU was another 20 minutes away.

After my friendly cabbie dropped me off, I trekked through the woods to get to the John Linn Gymnasium. As I stubbed my toe on a rock and scraped my shin on a thorny branch, I became very thankful I chose a city school and wondered who on earth would want to go to a college in the middle of the wilderness.

So, I was a little apprehensive around 3:30 p.m. Would this be another huge production to see a sporting match? I went to Au Bon Pain to get some supplies just in case and made my way to the shuttle stop.

As I walked up to the ambulatory care building, I saw a shuttle waiting. It was full. Not to worry; there was an extra game day shuttle waiting. I was on my way and it was already the most pleasurable Mount Vernon experience I had ever had.

I sat down on the cutout bleachers, unpacked my notebook and sandwich and watched. The weather was beautiful, the game was exciting and my sandwich was excellent. But there was something more that made my first GW soccer experience so pleasurable.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at first, but then it hit me. Somewhere around the middle of the second half, an angry Howard fan jumped up to protest a referee’s call, and passionate GW fans shouted back in retaliation.

I looked at the crowd around me. Students who came out to support their friends were decked out in buff and blue, toting signs and GW pom-poms. The fans knew their soccer. They argued with calls, they shouted instructions from the sidelines. They took a genuine interest in the game and seemed happy to be there.

Parents were cheering for their daughters and their daughter’s teammates. Administrators stood at the back in their GW Polo shirts looking proud, schmoozing with other Polo shirts.

As I sat on the grass enjoying the afternoon, I felt different. I was removed from the city, from class, from responsibility, but I felt like a part of something. I was a part of a crowd.

By the way, GW defeated Howard 4-3.

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