Soccer plus games: Précis of (parts of) a holiday weekend

July 7, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
July 7, 2014

Independence Day was another hot and humid Durham day. I bicycled to a coffee shop on Ninth Street in the afternoon. It closed early for the holiday, at 4 p.m. I went to a nearby grocery store to do some shopping: Peanut butter, salsa, popcorn, rice…

As I sat on the store’s porch, packing my backpack for the bicycle trip home, I realized that the day’s second World Cup quarterfinal match was still being played. I decided to go watch it.

I swung the straps of my now extremely heavy backpack over my shoulders and walked back to my bike on Perry Street. Then I pedaled east, across Broad Street and onto Duke University’s East Campus.

After cycling past the Duke dorms and gym and administrative and miscellaneous buildings, I emerged on Buchanan Avenue. I continued heading east on Dacian Avenue, across North Duke Street and onto the gravel byway that links to the South Ellerbee Creek Trail. I turned right and followed the asphalt ribbon to its southern terminus at Trinity Avenue. For the sake of exercise, I went a few extra blocks east on Trinity before hooking right on North Street and backtracking west on West Geer Street.

That brought me to Motorco Music Hall, where I’d watched the World Cup’s U.S.–Belgium knockout match on Tuesday. It wasn’t as crowded on Friday afternoon as it had been for the previous game, but there wasn’t a seat that afforded a good view of the projection screen. I decided to go back to Bull McCabe’s, where I’d watched the American men’s national team clash with Germany at the end of the World Cup group stage.

Thanks to some strategic (and deliberate) dawdling, I arrived at Bull McCabe’s around 5 p.m., after the second half had gotten under way. I was surprised at how many passionate fans were there — some rooting passionately for Brazil, some boisterously supporting Colombia.

After the match, I bicycled back home for a quiet evening, doing a few loads of laundry and watching DVD episodes of the short-lived science-fiction TV series Firefly. The show is as great as I remembered — possibly even better. If not all of the special effects hold up entirely (and many of the shots actually still look great), the drama, humor and character quirks and interactions are as wonderful as ever.

I did some more bicycling on Saturday before heading back to Oh’ Mulligans for World Tavern Poker. My runs this time were both short and volatile. I was out of each tournament after about 30 minutes apiece.

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