Saturday, July 08, 2006

Flashback: World Cup '94 Dallas

With tomorrow's World Cup 2006 Final upon us, I am posting this photo of my brother Larry & I in Fair Park arriving for a World Cup 1994 Dallas match - 12 years ago. I volunteered for the U.S. Soccer Federation to work FIFA protocol - I welcomed them at DFW as they arrived for the games & helped with the Spanish/English interpreting for the officials & various FIFA muckety-mucks. I had a great time!

The perks: free admission to all of the Cotton Bowl matches, a World Cup USA tie that we wore to events, invitations to the parties & FIFA memorabilia pins left & right. I was also looking for a job at the time - so I had plenty of time to volunteer - and I remember hoping that I could parlay the experience into some cool job opportunity - (nothing materialized).

It was blazing hot throughout group play & the Dallas games. Outstanding game memories - Hristo Stoitchkov blew me away - he was absolutely explosive for Bulgaria. I was also thoroughly impressed with Nigeria's Super Eagles & the drums that the Nigerian fans brought. The volunteering really served as my re-introduction to international soccer (not that the NASL qualified as world class international soccer - but it did the trick when Dad would take us to the Dallas Tornado games at SMU. Hey - we saw Pele play!)

One of the best times we had during the Dallas matches was the Spanish consulate's Paella Party at the Anatole Hotel. I remember seeing Real Madrid's owner just a few feet away from me. And they were trying to break a Guinness Book of World Records record for largest paella ever made. I don't remember any Guinness officials being present however.