Thursday, March 03, 2011

Sports Tourism

Pipi and I are doing our best to pioneer a form of travel we call sports tourism. This is exactly what it sounds like: Traveling around the world following our favorite sports teams and events.

It started in 2003 when we flew down to Los Angeles for a family visit, and then rented a car and drove from there to San Diego to watch that year’s WUSA professional women’s soccer championship. I’m glad we did because the league folded shortly thereafter, and so that match turned out to be the very last WUSA game ever. We’re learning that with sports, particularly women’s sports, you have to jump at opportunities to see games because in spite of what people say, there isn’t always a next year.

Our biggest trek so far has been to China for the 2007 Women’s World Cup soccer tournament. It would be hard to top that, in terms of both distance and adventure. The only idea we have that even comes close is that we’d both love to go to Melbourne for the Australian Open tennis tournament someday. (See, it’s not all soccer, although we are a little obsessed.)

The idea that we’re working on more seriously is going to Germany this summer for the 2011 Women’s World Cup. (Hard to believe it has been almost four years since China!) Actually, my hope is that by writing this, I will spur myself into action. Soccer is a big deal in Germany and I can’t count on tickets and hotel rooms being available at the last minute.

Part of what’s making me think of all this is the news, breaking this morning, that Canada has been awarded the Women’s World Cup in 2015. I’m a little relieved, although not surprised, that Canada won out over the other finalist, which was Zimbabwe. Women’s World Cups appear to be getting easier and easier to get to from my perspective. The United States has already hosted twice in the short history of the tournament, so I don’t expect to be able to drive to a game any time soon, but a trip with no time-zone crossings (hello, Vancouver!) will be nice.