Monday, June 25

Strangely Synchronized

It's happened to everyone. You book a weekend away in Ohio only to find it coincides with England getting to the Quarter Finals of a major football tournament.

Sunday's game with Italy kicked off at 2.45, and our flight back to Boston was scheduled to leave a few minutes after 3pm.

Only as we reached the gate, the sign said the flight was delayed.

I fired up the iPad, logged onto free Wi-Fi, and launched the ESPN app … and realized what an awesome time we live in that you can watch a European football game on your own screen in the middle of an American airport.

The gate rep announced that the pilot was unable to head to Boston because of regulations governing how many consecutive hours they could fly.

There would be another announcement at 4.30pm.

Anyone raised on football can do the math. 45 minutes x 2, + 15 minutes for Half-time and the game will finish at … 4.30.

After the tedium of 2 defensively minded teams playing out a 0-0 draw, we head to Extra-time. 15 minutes x 2, + some monkeying around with cramp and water bottles.

Surprise surprise as United announce they are still trying to solve the pilot problem and will make another announcement at 5.15.

At 5.15pm the game goes to penalties. 10 seconds later the gate announces a further delay.

Anne suggests we go watch the game in the bar 20 yards further down the airport. I remind her that it's bad for me to be near people when I'm watching England.

Evidently the ESPN feed in the bar is running about 7 seconds quicker than the feed on my iPad.

Consequently I hear a cheer just as on my own screen Ashley Young places the ball on the spot.

7 seconds later I realize the cheers were for a miss, and the bar is full of Italian fans (probably moronic twats who call themselves Italian-Americans despite their only Italian experiences being the bottomless salad bar at The Olive Garden, and their name ending in a vowel).

The pre-emptive cheers let me know that Ashley Cole, the man who once vomited on a woman during adulterous sex, had missed his penalty, and finally Italy scored to go through to the next round.

With the net still jiggling from the last penalty, the gate attendant announced that "We have a pilot", and the boarding process begins immediately.

Anne and I both hope the guy with the epaulettes is an Italian fan and not some suicidal Englishman willing to take a plane full of Boston travelers down with him and his inevitable abject despair.

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