A Cell Phone Nailbiter

Back in my smoking days, I could easily put away a pack during a Mexico World Cup fixture (I only needed one match). I wasn’t even watching this one, and I could tell it was at least a two-packer.

Okay, so most of you know that I had to travel today, so I didn’t get to watch the game, or about 95% of it. Mexico held serve, but it still has a long way to go, that is clear. But a loss or a tie would have been devastating. When I was sitting on the plane, I was trying to do the math in my head, helplessly hitting refresh.

It reminded of me of the old days. The days before info on demand. You remember those days. The only footie on TV was on SIN, and if it wasn’t on your cable system, then somehow, some way, if you could jerry rig the reynolds wrap on the antenna just right, maybe you could see an image. Any image. It was then that you thanked FIFA for their uniform rule regarding black and white TV.

Anyway, I get to the hotel in San Antonio. We don’t board buses for a while, so I go to the bar to see if the game is on. It’s not. The bartender insists that he can’t get Telemundo. He probably never bothered to check. Plan B. I had friends who new of my plight and promised to keep me updated with what happened. My first text just says “pinches gringos.” Ay ay ay.

So now my heart sinks to the floor and for the next ten minutes I try to find a way to watch. The laptop is out, but the Hyatt wants 19.95 to pay for the privilege of the wireless. I’ll use my tethering capability. And just when I get that hooked up, I hear a roar emerge from the bar.

Not another one.

But the images that appeared on the screen were wearing green shirts. It’s amazing how accommodating bartenders are when 50 people ask to see if the game is on. This is San Antonio after all. One of the Summer havens for the Mexican traveler. I saw the replay of Castro’s strike. Impeccable. But one point wasn’t enough. Mexico needed 3. I had to get on the bus after Gio narrowly missed. And for the next 65 minutes of gametime, I had to rely on the refresh button. And with each passing screen refresh, the sweatier the palms got, and the deeper the pit in my stomach. And then I had the realization that I will have to turn off my cell phone once we are airborne. So I may not know for the next three and half hours what happened.

And this is displayed on my phone:

GOAL!! Juarez with a great hard run to the end line, drops it back to a wide open Sabah who finishes decisively. 2-1 Mexico.

The plane is starting to taxi. 85th minute. The plane is getting close to the runway. The plane started up the runway just as the words “the final whistle is blown” appeared. That would have been an even longer 3.5 hour trip.

Again, the win just means Mexico held serve. They still have to win their remaining games at the Azteca and get more road points than Honduras to assure qualification. Up next for Mexico is the Saprissa. Not a house of Horrors for Mexico. They won there in 2005 and tied in 1997 and 2001. I do believe, though, that all three spots will still be up for grabs in the last qualifying weekend.

And Kudos to Dan Loney for nailing his prediction. Although methinks he wishes he wasn’t so clairvoyant.