“The ball is round, the game lasts ninety minutes, and everything else is just theory.”

Josef “Sepp” Herberger

The UPS man made a visit the Boudreausian palatial estate this weekend. And he came bearing gifts.

This past weekend our match tickets for the upcoming World Cup arrived. And with them, even more material evidence that we are about to embark upon a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Four years in the making—we’ve been talking about and planning this trip since the last whistle blew at the ‘02 tournament. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost here.

On a Friday afternoon next month, we’ll be getting on an international flight bound for Amsterdam. After a couple of days of taking in the sights, experiencing the culture, and hanging out with a bunch of Dutch people—the real adventure will begin as we go to the only place that holds the prescription for our World Cup fever: Deutschland.

We’ll climb aboard a train and arrive in Cologne, Germany. To make matters even better—we’ll rendezvous with our near-and-dear friends, The Poetschkes. Cologne will serve as our home base for a few days as we will be taking in a couple of matches in the surrounding areas.

First will be our beloved Team USA versus the Czech Republic in Gelsenkirchen (say that three times fast… or just once, actually). Assuming I survive the euphoria (or heartbreak) of that experience, a couple of days later, we will witness host country Germany take on Poland, in Dortmund. The atmosphere at the German game should be electric. We were very (very) fortunate to get our hands on these tickets. (Thanks, Jaime!)

Actually, I think it’s safe to say we are very fortunate to be going on this trip, period.

On that topic, the atmosphere in the entire country will be breathtaking. The entire world will be converging on Germany—in person or in spirit—for a little over a month to watch 32 teams compete in 64 games for one treasured prize. Being a part of that would be enough, but getting to attend games makes it all the more special.

So where was I? Ah yes… Cologne.

After the Germany/Poland match, we will catch a train down south to meet up with the Poetschke’s in Munich. After a couple of days experiencing the beauty of southern Germany, fraternizing with fellow soccer enthusiasts, and drinking steins of Hofbrauhaus—we’ll head back west to Frankfurt.

About an hour and a half south of Frankfurt—near the border of France—we’ll be catching our last game in a small town called Kaiserslautern.

There we will witness the USA take on the legendary Italian team in a match that will be pivotal for advancing out of group play. (Sorry if you aren’t familiar with how the World Cup is structured or what a soccer ball is… I will digress from that now.) That game will be a late-night match. We will probably roll back into our hotel in Frankfurt very much past midnight.

But there will be no rest for the weary as a flight bound for DFW airport will be leaving the next morning. And yes, we will be on it. Asleep.

We’ll need our rest.

There will still be four weeks of World Cup action to watch from home.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.