In his second entry for Goal.com, the New York Red Bulls midfielder talks about former teammate Joel Lindpere (and his Canadian tuxedo) and battling the rough conditions in D.C.
Hopefully my first blog entry wasn't too boring and that's why you're back now reading entry No. 2. That or you're just so bored at work, have nothing else to do, and are just giving me a pity read. If that's the case, well then... I'll take it!
This past weekend, us in Red Bull land were in the great city of Chicago to take on the Fire. I'll get to the game in a bit, but I feel like I would be doing all my loyal readers an injustice if I didn't take some time to tell you about one of my favorite teammates I've ever had. I will say without hesitation that this guy is looked at as nothing short of a legend by all who have gotten to know him. In MLS you make plenty of good friends throughout the league but I have never met anyone quite like my old teammate Joel Lindpere.
Joel is the type of guy that makes you laugh without even trying to be funny. First, he's from the tiny country of Estonia (how many Estonians do you know, honestly?) so that automatically makes him cooler than you. Second, his accent coupled with his broken English is unmistakable. For my first six months on the Red Bulls, I always thought Joel said my name kind of funny. Naturally, I just put this down to the power of his Estonian accent making everything sound way funnier than it actually was. It wasn't until I saw him look up my name in his phone that I actually realized Joel just flat out didn't know my name. The first letter he typed into his phone was a T, and sure enough there popped up the name "Tax".
Normally, I wouldn't be offended if I introduced myself to you and you didn't understand my name at first let alone know how to spell it, but a teammate of mine for six months?? After laughing about this for a while with some teammates, I realized there was no way I could be mad at Joel because that's just what you get with him - a guy with a heart of gold that just doesn't know your name. From then on, I didn't make it a day without Joel cracking the joke, "Tax, have you done your taxes yet?" I couldn't help but laugh every time. I also find it somewhat ironic I'm telling you this story right around tax season. Have you done yours yet? Seriously.
Anyways, after our team meal in Chicago the night before the game, guess who's smiling face was there to meet us in the lobby? The legend himself. Dressed in his finest Canadian tuxedo, he greeted everyone with a smile and a hug. I expected nothing less. Before we got into the standard soccer talk, the following is how our conversation started out, word for word.
Me: "Joel man! Great to see you buddy, how do you like living in Chicago?"
Joel: "Ahh it's great, I love it. My place is perfect. It has sowna (sauna), yakoozi (jacuzzi), svimming pool (swimming pool), everything I need. I get acoopuncture (acupuncture) three times a week. I live right by the beach, gonna get a nice tan in the summer. For me, is perfect."
I didn't even know Chicago had beaches, even if they are man made! Not one joke in there, but like I said before, funny without even trying. That's the stuff you remember most about Joel, and also why it was so good to see him happy and enjoying the move. (Side note: Joel, I expect that $100 for this massive plug in my blog next time we play you)
As for the game itself, one word comes to mind: frustrating. Going up a goal on the road in a place where we have traditionally struggled is the perfect way to start a game. Giving up the lead right before halftime was a big momentum swinger, and unfortunately we couldn't hold on for a point in the end. Full credit to Chicago for taking advantage and playing a strong second half, but our post-game feeling in the locker room was pure frustration that we didn't take more from it. Soccer is a cruel game sometimes. Every player in the world is going to make mistakes, that is a foregone conclusion that we all know is part of the job. It's how we come back from games like this that will determine how our season will end up.
With the character we have in the squad, I wouldn't bet against us coming back stronger than ever when we play another big rival on the road this coming weekend in D.C. United. Other than seeing all my little critter friends (roaches, raccoons, Pontius) that call RFK Stadium home, I am very much looking forward to going back to D.C. for what should be a fantastic atmosphere and even better game. We want that Atlantic Cup.
As for city life, this past week I was able to do something that brought me great joy off the field. I had the pleasure of experiencing Cirque Du Soleil for the first time ever. I saw the show Totem, which is set up out in Flushing Meadows in the parking lot of Citi Field (where the NY Mets play for those who don't know). Wow, I can honestly say that this was one of the most mind-blowing experiences of my life. The amount of strength, flexibility, and sheer talent that these performers have is truly something that a scrawny little guy like me will probably never understand, but least I can run further then them (maybe), so HA!
Add in the fact that they perform these death-defying acts in a pop-up tent in a random parking lot, and that makes for a very entertaining spectacle. It also speaks volumes to the day and age we live in that I could send out a harmless tweet through AT&T on my iPhone about seeing the show, and, through a series of mutual friends and direct messages, get invited backstage afterward by someone actually performing that night. If this was 20 years ago and I was rocking my Motorola 2-way pager on my hip, I never get to go behind the scenes and meet all these freaks of nature. What an experience!
I guess the moral of the story is, think less, tweet more, good things happen. Or something like that. Time to find my old D.C. jersey and perform some voodoo ritual on it in preparation for the game this weekend.
Until next time loyal readers, take care!