London 2012, Day 14 – Manchester

It’s probably not a good thing for a writer to feel speechless. But when the whistle blew at the end of nearly 125 minutes of game time in tonight’s (okay, last night’s – let’s not pretend that I wrote this blog after turning in my final story at 4 a.m.) semifinal soccer match between the U.S. and Canada, that’s exactly how I felt. Speechless. Drained. Exhausted and exhilarated. Sort of like how the players must have felt. But on a much smaller scale.

For a very long time, I didn’t know how to make sense of what I’d just seen, or put into perspective where that game, or Morgan’s goal, lies on the all-time-greatest list. All I knew is that I had watched something special, been part of a moment. And I had the wonderful privilege of relaying that experience to our readers back home. Mainly, I just kept hearing various editors in my mind reminding me, “Don’t eff this one up, Roenigk.”

By 4 a.m., I’d turned in two stories. One, I’d been waiting to write all Olympics, about Alex Morgan big moment. We all knew it was coming. She knew it was coming. And when it did, it was incredible to watch her take advantage of it. Coming into this Olympics, there were a few legitimate superstars on this team. But it has been so much fun to watch players like Megan Rapinoe, Morgan, Sydney Leroux, Carli Lloyd and Heather O’Reilly start to become household names. They aren’t just stepping out of the very large shadow cast by the 1999 team. They’re sprinting, full-bore toward the spotlight. You can read that story HERE.

The second helped to explain the reffing controversy over the six-second call made on Canada’s goalkeeper that set up Abby Wambach’s equalizer in the 80th minute. The Americans believe they took advantage of an unusual call. The Canadians believe they were robbed. You can read that story HERE.

[Why no photos in this blog? Good question. Well, in all the excitement of the game, I didn’t take a single photo. Not one on the train ride to Manchester, or during warmups or while the team was celebrating their improbable win. The snapshots are all stored in my memory, which is probably the best place to keep them. I’d rather share them over a beer, anyway.]

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