A Soccer Rendezvous | Euro 2016

In typical Michelle fashion a lengthy amount of time has passed since an event so now I feel inclined to write about it (I put the “pro” in procrastination). For the duration of your reading pleasure please disregard the fact that (spoiler alert!) Portugal won the Euro Cup and that the tournament is over because we’re rewinding back to mid-June, specifically the day of our long awaited Euro match!

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Chances are you are familiar with the World Cup– well the Euro is very similar. It is an international soccer tournament between countries but the Euro is, you guessed it, only between European teams! Since it is a one game elimination series we didn’t know who we would be seeing face-off on the pitch until a few days before and it worked out to be an amazing pairing– France vs Republic of Ireland.

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I think the best part of this experience was getting to see France play in France. The French aren’t know for being particularly rowdy but that didn’t compromise their spirit and pride in their country! Seeing as the United States are not part of Europe I had to pick a country to root for and who better than the host nation?!

With our brown-bag lunches, newly purchased match scarves, and fresh face paint we entered the stadium to rivaling chants of “Allez Les Bleus” and “Stand Up For the Boys in Green”. After navigating our way to our seats only to find we were in the fifth row from the pitch, it was time to soak up the sun (hello sunglasses burn) and experience the world’s favorite sport on an immense scale.

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Lyon Part Dieu train station had info booths set up specifically for the Euro to answer any questions about the event and how to get to the stadium, which was located on the outskirts of town. They also had trams specifically reserved to transport fans to Parc Olympique Lyonnais, free of charge. Security was vigilant but reserved, not interfering with the excitement of the event, probably because they were just as excited as us, taking photos alongside fans!

For a country that had the world’s worried eyes on it while hosting this European event after the the attacks in Paris back in November of 2015 they did a phenomenal job. I have to admit, I was not fearless going in to this trip, how could I be? But there was never a moment where I second-guessed booking my flight. This was our trip and I was not willing to let people who want to instill fear to gain control succeed in scaring me away. In a time of disaster, communities band together tighter than ever, and that was the population we were embraced by in France.

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Someone wise and quotable once said if we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots instead of feet and, just like the soccer players on the pitch, my feet can’t stay in one place for too long (if I can help it, *cough cough* school) and I am so pleased with my personal Tour de France and exposure to Europe’s love affair with futbol.

Allez Les Bleus, Stand Up For the Boys in Green, Força Portugal and Que Viva España,

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