I sat down on Friday trying to map out games and tickets for just my own organization, and the pieces started to fall into place. A very silly adventure was afoot.
The Netherlands played South Africa in Sydney in noon, the US didn’t play Sweden in Melbourne until 8:30pm. The duration of a flight from Sydney to Melbourne was an hour and a half. It just might work. It was a big might and a very silly idea, but it just might work. So we went all in.
A few obstacles stood in our way, the biggest was just getting tickets to the US match. We had a few maybes out but nothing solid and nothing in hand. Booking travel was easy enough…maybe too easy, but we went ahead and booked refundable tickets and packed our bags. The next morning, the adventure began. I set out early in the day to drop our bags at the airport so we could pick them up on the way to Melbourne, and then headed towards the stadium to meet Lesley. Thankfully that morning our tickets for USA v Sweden came through and our confidence in this silly plan ticked up a notch.
We met outside the stadium and headed inside to our seats, thankfully nice ones for this trip back to Allianz, and settled in. Netherlands got out to an early lead with a goal at the ninth minute, and unfortunately for South Africa would turn out to be a fairly one-sided match. This was fortunate for us however as right around half-time we got an email that needed our attention. Our flight to Melbourne had been cancelled. Virgin Australia had rescheduled us on a flight that night, but that wasn’t going to work, we had a match to get to! So we quickly found one that worked with our schedule, rebooked via Qantas and took some deep breaths and took in the second half.
While Netherlands weren’t our favorite team this tournament, we do appreciate that they scored a second goal in the 68th minute and held that lead. That meant no extra time and we could get on our way. We hopped in an Uber to the airport, got through security just fine, waited at our gate… and waited…and then saw Jill Ellis again (She might be following us?)…and then someone came and thankfully informed us our gate had changed! We rushed over to the new gate, got on the flight and off we went.
The flight was smooth, I napped because I was crashing from the adrenaline of this silly adventure beginning to dissipate, and we got into Melbourne right on time. We only had about an hour to kickoff so we weren’t sure this was going to work but thankfully our taxi driver was just the man for the job. He knew the route around the worst of the traffic, got us dropped off not tooooo far from the stadium, and we’d made it! At our seats by kickoff!
Aaaaaand that’s where the good news of this adventure ends. As did the USWNT’s run in the World Cup. It was an incredible match and honestly the US played the best they had all tournament. Even through they didn’t make it through [by MILLIMETERS), we were glad we made the journey, and it was absolutely worth it to see them play. Heartbreaking, devastating, but absolutely worthwhile. The video below wraps up our thoughts on the journey and our pod with our friends Skye and Courtney sum up our feelings on the match. This trip honestly wiped us out for a couple days after, but we’ll share more of our adventure since this match soon!