Our lives as a family has featured all sorts of sporting endeavours from netball to soccer to cricket to basketball and baseball. If we weren't playing it, we were watching it or even officiating it.
What follows are a couple of stories about watching sport this summer, and watching Australian players in particular.
Out to the Ball Game
One of our favourite summer events is the Little League World Series which is held in South Williamsport Pennsylvania every August. Unlike other events where the term "world champion" is bandied about with great recklessness, this baseball tournament does have participants from all parts of the world. Teams participating have made their way from local competitions through to national and regional tournaments in order to qualify to make the trip to the north east of the United States.
|ESPN and ABC Broadcast Booth|
|Pre-game introductions at Volunteer Stadium|
|The Fergusons go to the LLWS|
|Puerto Rico is a strong side with great hitting and pitching|
|Australian Coach keeps the team motivated under fire from the Puerto Rican hitters|
|Post game handshakes|
In subsequent games the team lost a very competitive game against another baseball power, Mexico. In fact, the team led for a substantial portion of the match before going down in a very close game.
|Family and friends who'd made the trip from Perth|
One of the highlights of the LLWS was watching the coach of the New England side. He is the type of coach every kid should have at least once in their lives. Here is his talk to the team after they lost a very close game that had knocked them out of the tournament.
A Brush with Greatness
Our next outing was to the DC United game against the New York Red Bulls at RFK Stadium in Washington DC.
After watching the World Cup games while we were back in Australia and getting up at ridiculous times in order to do so, we had the opportunity to see one the Australian stars in action. So, while we'd be supporting the Red and Black, we'd be cheering for Tim Cahill.
|Who did we sing for? Not quite, but at least they're Red and Black|
In addition, the New York team is captained by the French great Thiery Henry which made it a double brush with greatness.
We made a day of things by packing our esky and tail gating before the game.
The weather was perfect though the sun was intense. Fortunately, our row 2 seats were in the shade relatively early in the afternoon.
The game itself was entertaining and while Tim Cahill came close to scoring a couple of times, including a shot off the bar, the DC United team came out on top and moved 4 points ahead in their conference.
|Cahill and Henry|
|Cahill just after he spotted some Aussies in the crowd|
He then spent the next several minutes talking and signing things. He was one of the only non-DC players to spend time with the fans after the game. As he was leaving the stadium he spotted the NY contingent who'd made the trip down I95 from New York for the game. He climbed the fence and made his way up to thank them, sign autographs, have pictures taken, and give his game shirt to one of the fans. Here is another worthy of the title "ambassador".
|Tim Cahill spending time with the fans after 90 minutes in intense heat|