Dispatches from World Cup 2010
Joe Healey spoke as follows in his homily at the Aquinas Institute’s Mass on Sunday morning of Reunions about his special connection to World Cup 2010:
“My nephew by marriage is Bob Bradley, Princeton Class of 1980. He played on the men’s varsity soccer team and later became the coach of the soccer team at Princeton from 1984 to 1995. Presently he is the coach of the USA Men’s National Soccer Team that practiced here at Princeton last week before getting ready to play in the World Cup in South Africa in June, 2010. One of the stars of the team is my grandnephew Michael Bradley. Guess where he was born: Princeton, New Jersey.“
And so Michael grew up playing youth soccer (coached sometimes by Princetonians) and hanging out at varsity practices run by his father. Joe and his brother-in-law Tom Oglesby traveled with the Bradley family in South Africa during the first two weeks of the World Cup, and sent back this series of dispatches describing their adventures there. Those marked "from Joe" are from Joe; the others are from Tom, the correspondent for the self-declared "Odd Couple".
11 June 2010 Ubuntu ( "Let us be together" that is the theme of the 2010 World Cup) If we can navigate the internet we shall. Arrived safely in Joberg airport. We were greeted by a cacophony of vuvuzela (those South African trumpets that FIFA considered banning). Our schedule: 6/11 2:30 Security Meeting ( Happy about that. So far well guarded) 4:00 Opening Match: South Africa v Mexico (Many sombreros in our Hotel Dining Room) 6:30 Welcome reception in our hotel to meet other family members (already acquainted with Landon Donovan and Tim Howard's relatives) 8:30 Uruguay v France 6/12 11:45 Game Day Departure 4:00 Pre Game Party 8:30 In our seats at Royal Bafokens Stadium in Rustenberg (Where the US Team has been staying and practicing) Will update but as of now our future plans: 6/14 Lunch with team 6/16 Game Park Trip (Pilanesburg) 6/18 US v Slovenia -- Johannesburg 6/19 Fly to CapeTown 6/22 Back to Joberg 6/23 Pre Game Reception at the US Embassy then USA v Algeria -- Pretoria Make your plans for the Saturday, 12 June match about 2:30 p.m. USA time ( We will be excited but somewhat chilly in the stadium) 12 June 2010 (from Joe) Hello from Johannesburg, South Africa. I am trying to figure out the best way to keep everyone informed about the progress of the World Cup. As a start here is a family email sent by my brother-in-law Tom Oglesby with whom I am traveling here in South Africa. I guess that the most amazing thing so far is that we are part of the U.S. Soccer Federation Family Program and staying in the hotel with the families of the players in a place called Melrose Arch. So far we have met the parents and brothers of Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Jozy Altidore, Stuart Holden and Carlos Bocanegra. We hope to have lunch with the team on Monday and of course meet our nephew Bob Bradley and our grandnephew Michael Bradley. We who live in Kenya know the struggles of the two competing National Football Organizations in Kenya. By way of comparison the U.S. Soccer Federation has its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, USA and a full time staff of over 50 people. Wow! On Sunday, 13 June I will be celebrating Mass for anyone who is interested here in the hotel. 12 June 2010 Dancing in the streets after So Africa tied Mexico. Waiters, shop keepers, pharmacists, all know football and want to talk to you about the World Cup. They are so proud of Africa for being on a par with the rest of the world and hosting this event. This is a happy country. All music and smiles . Today, we have a three hour bus trip to the match at Rustenberg. The temperature at game time should be about 56, skies clear. 13 June 2010 The flags were out, our faces painted, red white and blue everywhere. The British were there in number but not with our spirit. The scoreboard didn't function but the sound system was blasting out tunes by artists not familiar to your humble correspondent. The fans were dancing, I think I swayed ( a movement of some kind). Yes there were drunken Brits and fights. Old news. We started out in buses with a police escort. Never stopped for a red light. Two hour trip across a high dry plateau. Crumbling red rock and cactus, dirt roads to nowhere, much like our Southwest. There were herds of long horned cattle, shanty towns scattered near dry river beds, fields of sunflowers and aloe. Children walked along the highway carrying fire wood. Cows were on the highway ignoring the police sirens., There were no travel plazas, just fruit vendors an occasional flea market and one Crazzee Dazzee's Baby Bush Restaurant. Game analysis: Happy with the tie. Jitters are over. Nobody seriously injured ( However, even the coach's wife may not be getting accurate information from the "tight lipped Bob Bradley". I can only report that after the match our team walked around the stadium acknowledging the fans. They looked healthy. No one was limping. Slovenia on Friday. 14 June 2010 Yesterday was Rest and Recovery for our group. We needed a down day after the build up, the bus trip and the match. Everyone stayed close to our hotel. The Protea Fire and Ice. is described as "Urban, Contemporary, and Edgy".The dominant colors are black and white with splashes of red. The quiet background music is "African Jazz". The ground floor is check in, the first floor is a dining room and a bar that opens onto a large outdoor terrace. On the second floor, U.S. Soccer has a large room with constant broadcasts of all World Cup Games or Soccer News ( think ESPN's Sports Center). Melrose Arches is a Gated Business Area with two hotels and multiple shops and restaurants. There are some three story mall-like areas but mostly you are walking in cobble stone streets from shop to shop . For my Baltimore friends, it would be like gating Harbor East ( not a bad idea). Outdoor cafes, wine bars, large open areas that have large screens showing World Cup matches. European fashion, great people watching. Today, we will spend the afternoon and evening with the team members at their hotel in another part of JoBerg. 15 June 2010 Good Morning, It's 4am so I probably don't have too many lively readers. The Odd Couple got up early and tried out the local Athletic Club. Quite nice. These people are in great shape. The men look like Rugby players and the women look like they all play semi pro tennis. I decided to just stretch and head for breakfast and shopping ( My new sport). Joe may still be on the treadmill. Yesterday we traveled to the team's training facility. The location is secret with armed guards and security patrols. However it is impressive with its own spa and lake. If I give anymore details over the internet I may be sent home sooner than planned. I can report that Tim Howard was smiling, breathing without pain and had a healthy appetite. When not at an organized practice Clint Dempsey spends all day fishing in the lake. He caught three yesterday. ( Perhaps a hat trick in the next match) Bob and Lindsay Bradley shared their 24th anniversary dinner with the team and their families. 16 June 2010 Another big night in the streets of JoBerg. The BAFANA BAFANA play Uruguay. Cheer for a home team upset. Wine bar impression from yesterday...Three men, three women. Dressed stylishly, flirtatious eye contact. The women's smiles became more enticing as lunch progressed . This was a business meeting. Was there wine? I believe so. I'm sure some agreement was made. The US needs to bring back the three martini lunch. I digress... So today we were up early to a gold orange sunrise. Little known fact...South African wine at night enhances sunrises and causes digressions. Two hour ride to Bakubung. What did we see out of our bus windows...colorful hot air balloons flying over game parks, orange groves, platinum mines, women carrying loosely bundled ten foot branches on their heads, homes constructed of corrugated tin roofs held together by who knows what but with boulders to hold them in place. Donkeys were available but they preferred to let the women carry the sticks. Our Game Park was close to the Botswana border. Home of Alexander MaColl Smith's famous Number One Lady's Detective Agency and Gabarone and the Kalahari Desert and Ma Matutsi and Ma Marotsie and I digress...We saw springbok, impala, waterbuck, kudu, hippo, elephants, rhino, giraffe, and zebra. But my favorite was the African wart hog. When he runs he puts his long tail straight up in the air. He looks like a very ugly remote controlled toy car. Tomorrow is a free day so I would entertain questions from my loyal readers. Otherwise I will just digress. Off to watch more soccer. 17 June 2010 OK. Everyone wants more facts about South Africa. 2nd largest exporter of fruit in the world. 280,000 windmills across the country, second only to Australia. The Tuelaga Falls is the second highest waterfall in the world. Yes, Joe and I have been on many safaris before. Yes, we were traveling in a large landrover and we were perfectly safe. You never get over the thrill of seeing the animals in their natural environment. No, the vuvuzelas don't drive you nuts as long as one isn't being blown just behind your ear. However, there have been numerous editorials in the local paper describing the future ban on vuvuzelas as a form of " cultural imperialism". . . . I love the South African names. No one here has ever heard of a Shakira or a Shanika. Would you believe ... Patience, Happiness and Peace. Forgive my senility, but did I mention that Joe and I are in the Marilyn Monroe room. She and Audrey Hepburn have their pictures in our bathroom. Edgy, but perfect for the Odd Couple. Yes . . . there are trees in Africa. They usually are less than ten feet high but the ones with the sweetest leaves are much taller and that's why the giraffe has such a long neck. . . . We were not allowed to pet the animals. We wanted to but sometimes there are rules that are best for the animals and for us. But we can always go to the zoo and pet the cows and goats. A glass of good wine at restaurant costs $4.30, a glass of better wine costs $5.40 A hamburger with fries and cole slaw costs $8.70, with bacon and cheese $9.60 18 June 2010 If you watched the match you can skip my synopsis. But for those who work, the US fell behind 2-0 in the first half. Slovenia probably deserved the first goal but it looked as if their second goal came on an off side play. So here we are facing elimination unless we can tie. Early in the second half Landon Donovan breaks around his defender on the right baseline and scores. In the 2006 World Cup Landon never scored. We then played very aggressively leaving ourselves open to counter attack but we just couldn't score. At the seventy minute mark I noticed that Michael ( Bradley ) was no longer playing defensive midfield ( I noticed this because his mother who was sitting next to me kept yelling "Michael get back". Michael was not listening. He was forward every play. You saw what happened. An opportunistic goal off a Jozy Altidore assist. My Michael Bradley jersey could now pay for my plane ticket home. The fans are exhausted and the ODD COUPLE is off to Cape Town early tomorrow so I will bid you good night. Hopefully we will be able to set up communications in our new location. The Algeria game next week has great importance. I will try to explain the significance in a separate missive (that means I haven't yet figured it out). 20 June 2010 The OC has landed in Cape Town. Nice Dinner with Bob Bradley's Princeton roommates the night before we left Joberg. The topic of conversation as you can imagine was the variables involved for the US Team to move on. The higher math escapes me, but a win or a tie against Algeria looks good. A World Cup Court has been has been set up to give instant justice and to assure tourists that crime will be punished. Yesterday a man received five years in jail and a lecture from the judge about being a good host for stealing a cell phone. Something Baltimore should might consider. The WAGS ( Wives and Girlfriends of the British players.) are well scrutinized by the Press. Other interesting headlines...NO "BOOM BOOM" IN JOBERG SEX INDUSTRY AS THE FANS STICK TO SOCCER. No impact on the ODD COUPLE but apparently an economic miscalculation. Capetown is impressive. Table Mountain is a massive tree trunk and the city is located on it's roots just before they disappear into the harbor. Stadium is downtown. Harbor shops and restaurants reviewed later. Wine tour about to start. 20 June 2010 Just ask me if you want a good restaurant in Cape Town. What a Day! Stellenbosch through the eyes of a guide whose family runs a vineyard and whose daytime job is to import Champagne from France to South Africa. I really was lucky. The clouds were off Table Mountain. The view was spectacular. Drove out of town toward the Drachenstien Mountains. The first vineyard visited was Fairview. The first wine presented was Goats Do Roam. Until now I had resisted buying this wine because I thought the name was too cutesy.I was wrong. This vineyard has fabulous wines and they blended this to get into the American market. also toured Warwick, Kanonkop, Knorhoek and Waterford. If the weather holds tomorrow the Odd Couple will climb Table Mountain and visit the world famous arboretum. 21 June 2010 We have returned to the monastery for the day. The Portuguese fans have congregated at a restaurant /night club just across the street. They are in a good mood after beating North Korea 7-0. There goes my hour of evening meditations. Vuvuzelas and conga drums. Not too bad. Because the clouds on the Mountain returned, our host, Father Michael Connell, took Joe and I to the Catholic bookstore and newspaper center where Joe demonstrated his networking skills. Then off to Groot Constancia where I demonstrated the art of wine tasting. Both of us were in good form. The first vineyards were planted in Constancia by the Dutch in the 1600's. The French Huguenots arrived later and introduced "the Noble Grapes" further away from Cape Town in the farming communities which have now become the center of South African wine production We then drove along the cliffs above Hout bay to Boulders, the home of the South African Penguins. Quite amusing . We wandered among them for hours. They were formerly called Jack Ass Penguins because the male call sounds exactly like a donkey braying. We drove back to Cape Town along False Bay and through the beach communities of Fish Hoek and Kalk Bay. A great adventure. Tomorrow we are off to Joberg to prepare for our win against Algeria. Well if you can't beat them join them. I'm off to La Cubana for dinner and a quick Samba. 22 June 2010 I forgot to mention that while visiting the penguins yesterday we spotted a whale swimming close to shore. He or she surfaced multiple times just for us. South Africa was the location where they filmed one of my Top 20 movies; The Gods Must Be Crazy. This morning the Gods Were Munificent and the OC were at the cable car at 8:30 and up on Table Mountain for a celestial two hours. Not only can you see Cape Town but also False Bay, Stellenbosch and Cape Point. As you know the OC are not tyros at this sightseeing gig. We were impressed. Don't miss it when you visit. The clouds move in quickly in the winter ( cloudy just as we returned to our lodgings at 10: 30). Summer would be more predictable but probably more crowded. On our way down the Mountain Joe discovered that our taxi driver spoke the "Click" language. What a treat to hear him make sounds effortlessly that you and I could never duplicate. Looking for Lindsay, Kerry and Ryan to hear about their trip to Kenya. All of us just returned to Joberg ( Jozie). 23 June 2010 THEY ARE THE BEST! 94 Minutes, no let up. Tears and cheers and dancing in the aisles for their families. Then off to their training camp for a victory party. On Saturday we play Ghana in Rustenburg Stadium at 8: 30 ( 2:30 in US). Your correspondent will get off the plane at 10:24 and his daughter Erin ( just a reminder) will take him to Slainte to watch the match. Hope you can be there to ply me with drinks. The day started with a visit to the US EMBASSY in Pretoria with the customary police escort. Drew Cary led a pep rally. I've now had dinner with Mel Brooks and I've shaken hands with Mr. Cary. Not much left. Bill Clinton was at the match but we were preoccupied by then. 24 June 2010 (from Joe) Quite an extraordinary experience here in South Africa. GO USA. The Donovan goal in the 92nd Minute was fabulous. The implications of getting into the Second Round are enormous. Bob Bradley staying as the Head Coach of the USA Team. Strengthening the USA Bid for the World Cup in 2018 or 2022. Bigger attendance at Major League Soccer games. This morning in the hotel I met the Sports Writer for the New York Daily News (he also covers the New York Yankees baseball team). While hopes can be dashed in a second and then a team is suddenly out of the World Cup, he feels that the USA Team is in the best possible draw. If they beat Ghana they play the winner of Uruguay - South Korea (thus missing Argentina, Germany and England) and could make it to the semi-finals. Hope springs eternal. At the team's hotel we met Jesse Marsch (Princeton Class of 1996) who played on the Princeton Varsity Soccer Team when Bob Bradley was the coach and now is the Assistant Coach of the USA National Team. For those of us connected to Africa it is hard that the USA will play the only remaining African team. . . . 24 June 2010 Rest and relaxation for some and frantic ticket changes for others. Over all our group is probably diminished. Although So Africans do love the US Team, their loyalties will be divided because on Saturday we will face the last African team, Ghana. Will miss the friendly spirit of South Africa. . . . Thanks for traveling with us. You made it even more special. 29 June 2010 (from Joe) Ghana’s 2-1 defeat of USA in the round of 16 brought our World Cup Dream to an abrupt end. As we USA fans stood around after the game sad, silent and looking down, a man came by and said: “Cheer up. You’ve had a good run.” Yes, indeed, we had a good run and I feel confident that the USA National Soccer Team will have more good runs. In fact, the team plays an International Friendly against Brazil in the new Meadowland Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, 10 August, 2010. When the final whistle blew after 120 minutes, Landon Donovan exchanged shirts with Jonathan Mensah and then headed to his bench. There, the loss sank in. "The finality of it is brutal," Donovan said. "And you realize how much you put into it, not just four years but your whole life and there's no guarantee there's another opportunity at that." Donovan added: “One minute you are on top of the world, the next minute you are at the bottom of the mountain." Coach Bob Bradley (Princeton Class of 1980) said: “Though the team reached its initial goal of advancing out of group play, there was emptiness when it was all over, the feeling of an opportunity lost.” A close friend send me this email message: “After the loss, I saw the interview on TV with coach Bob Bradley. He was very honorable, proud and dignified in defeat. You can be equally proud of your clan in times of light and darkness.” Yes, and Princeton can be proud too. On Sunday, 27 June we celebrated an Extended Family Mass for members from the Altidore, Bradley, and Onyewu Families and others at the hotel of the U.S. Soccer Federation Family Program. The group felt very much like a Small Christian Community. The theme was: “Good sportsmanship in the World Cup.” I talked with Oguchi Onyewu (the No. 5 Defender) before mass and promised him that my Kenyan friends and I would root for AC Milan in the Italian Premier League where he will be playing full time after recovering from injuries. Also I met Marcus Hahnemann (second string goalkeeper) and promised to root (sometimes!) for his team the Wolverhampton Wanderers (the Wolves) in the English Premier League. Everyone says the World Cup Is still wide open. The biggest discussion topic this week is the poor refereeing. Also these weeks in South Africa I have been struck by the commercialism of sports and the marketing of the most famous soccer players. It used to be that one of the best mantras in sports was: "It's not whether you win or lose that counts, but rather how you played the game." Here at the World Cup of Football (Soccer) in South Africa the new commercialized mantra is: "It's not whether you win or lose that counts, but rather how many sponsor endorsements you can pick up." I have emotionally swung behind Ghana as Africa’s hope. After three weeks of vacation my grandnephew Michael Bradley returns to his German Club for the next league season. 11 July 2010 (from Joe) Back in Nairobi, Kenya at the Maryknoll House where I live permanently I am waiting for the Netherlands-Spain Final like everyone else. This Final Match of the World Cup of Football (Soccer) in South Africa offers many examples of contemporary sayings as found in today's Sunday newspapers here in Nairobi: "World Cup frenzy reaches fever pitch." "Date with destiny." "Feel the action." "When the going gets tough there are men who coaches always call on to set things right.” On our street we hear the vuvuzelas blaring away. First, they were a South African phenomenon, then an all Africa phenomenon and now a worldwide phenomenon. The newspapers report that over 100,000 vuvulezas have made their way to England. Certainly one of the enduring sounds of the 2010 FIFA World Cup has been the cacophony of noise from these colorful plastic trumpets. We members of the US Soccer Federation Family Program each got a vuvuzela with an American flag attached. Here in Nairobi we have huge traffic jams every day between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. But during this month of 11 June to 11 July drivers would rush home early to catch the afternoon and evening football games. So the normal late afternoon rush hour suddenly disappeared. Part of the fruits of the World Cup. While in South Africa for I was interviewed on the one-hour radio program “The Melting Pot” on Radio Veritas, a Catholic Radio Station in Edenvale near Johannesburg. The interviewer encouraged listeners to go on our website (http://www.afriprov.org) and vote in the POLL: “My favorite proverb related to the World Cup in South Africa is...” One example is the Gusii, Kenya proverb: Do not boast about yourself before performing an event, but after the event. I also gave examples of various African stories that are published in my book Once Upon a Time in Africa: Stories and of Wisdom and Joy (Orbis Books, 2004) and other stories that are posted on our website in the African Stories Database at: http://www.afriprov.org/index.php/african-stories-database.html. One story is: Everyone Knows Who Sepp Blatter Is. During a visit to the Kibera Slums in Nairobi, Kenya in May, 2008 we had a tour of the John Paul II Mixed Secondary School. This is the very part of Nairobi when riots and burning of shops took place during the post December, 2007 election violence. Entering the Senior High School English Class we greeted the teacher and students in the typically warm and friendly African way. On the blackboard I immediately noticed three names: Abraham Lincoln George Washington Joseph (Sepp) Blatter Now you might find this a strange or unusual combination of names. My three American Maryknoll companions didn't know who Sepp Blatter is. But, of course, all the Kenyan students did. In this soccer-crazy country that is passionately following the 2010 Soccer World Cup qualifying matches everyone – even in the slums – knows that Sepp Blatter is the President of FIFA (the French acronym for the International Federation of Association Football). 12 July 2010 (from Joe) In Nairobi, Kenya last night we watched the final game of the World Cup on TV – like more than 700 hundred million people around the world. Viva España! It is great that a country (Spain) won for the first time ever. Friends compared the Dutch supporters dressed in bright orange to the annual Princeton P-rade. One of the most active writer and commentators in South Africa was Grant Wahl (Princeton Class of 1996) who covered the World Cup for Sports Illustrated. He seemed to be everywhere in the media. in Nairobi I was able to see Grant’s video clip commentaries on the internet on the Sports Illustrated Website (a CNN network site) and his panel discussion Interviews on CNN. In his 5 July, 2010 article in Sports Illustrated called “What's Lost, What's Next” Grant wrote: “The U.S.'s breakout player was 22-year-old Michael Bradley, who showed he could compete as a box-to-box midfielder against some of the sport's highest-paid players, including England's Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. Is there a chance Bradley might join them in the Premier League? The rough-and-tumble pace of the Premiership would be a good fit for Bradley, who has moved up the ladder from MLS's MetroStars to the Netherlands' Heerenveen to Germany's Borussia Mönchengladbach. "He's a real engine to our team," says U.S. assistant coach Jesse Marsch. "On both sides of the ball he gives us a lot, and with that he has a clear understanding of what Bob wants things to look like." Then later Grant wrote: “By guiding the Americans to the second round, Bob Bradley, 52, may have done enough to earn another four-year term as U.S. coach. While his teams have never been swashbuckling entertainers, his pragmatic approach has earned respect in global soccer quarters.” Some of the enduring memories of the 2010 World Cup…. Paul, the oracle octopus in Germany who became a worldwide celebrity in predicting the winners. Spain’s defeat of Germany in the semifinals as predicted by Paul prompted many Germans to wonder how he would taste grilled for dinner. But then Paul rightly picked Germany for Third Place and Spain to win the trophy. So his star continues to rise. Local Kenyan newspapers want Paul to vote in our Yes-No referendum on the proposed new Kenya Constitution and save the people from having to go to the polls on 4 August. Another World Cup memory was the joy, enthusiasm and optimism of the South African people. When I mentioned to a young woman in the Johannesburg hotel dining room that that I would leave after the USA was eliminated, she said, “Oh, never say that. Think positive. Tell everyone that you are leaving on 12 July.” With the World Cup over I have begun working on several articles for newspapers, magazines and internet websites both in Africa and the USA. One theme is “Why Africa Matters – the Ongoing Fruit of the 2010 World Cup.” I am trying to explain that Africa is more than bad news (war, poverty, AIDs, corruption). Africa has many gifts and values to share with the world. The many successes during the last month in South Africa demonstrate this clearly. On a more personal note after returning to the USA my grandnephew Michael Bradley announced his engagement to Amanda Barletta who is from New Providence, NJ. A summer, 2011 wedding is expected. Many more good things are to come. I am sure Princeton will continue to play an important role in the US Men’s National Soccer Team. This is my last dispatch on our Princeton Class of 1960 Website. It has been a lot of fun and “a great ride” as they say. Thanks to the creativity of Mike Southwell for making all this happen. My final words are: “Welcome to Africa!” During our 50th Reunion last May, 2010 I was pleasantly surprised how many classmates told me that they had visited Africa over the years. Others told about a son or a granddaughter or a nephew, etc. who is (or has been) in the Peace Corps/on a Research Fellowship in Africa or involved in an NGO in some African country. Truly we are all connected in our global village.