June 26, 2014

I.

It's 2:15 am on Thursday, June 26, 2014. Sleep eludes me. Anxiety entices me. Three thoughts carelessly and callously careen through my insomnia-riddled brain like a bee-stung Ferdinand through a shop of the most ornate porcelains.

What was I thinking? Will the WiFi be strong enough?I believe.

Definition of hindsight: booking a plane flight in April without first double-checking your national team's June World Cup schedule. While our country holds its collective breath waiting for 11 a.m. CST, I hold mine in the hopes US Airways has decent WiFi at 30,000 feet.

What was I thinking?I believe that.

My plight is a blip, a minor inconvenience in the litany of humanity's minor inconveniences. But this USA-Germany game? This could be one of those sports moments frozen in time, one of those experiences where you remember exactly where you were, what you were doing, and who you were with. Like this. Or this. Or especially this.

I believe that we.

This is Team America's fútbol moment in the sun. More Americans are watching the World Cup than ever before. For 90 minutes today, all of our eyes should be focused on Recife. And technically, we don't even have to win this game. Heck, we don't even have to tie. But don't tell that to coach Klinsmann and the boys. After a dominant but heartbreaking showing against Portugal, The Yanks won't settle for anything less than a win. It'd be un-American.

Wherever you are today, whatever you're doing, when that whistle blows and this game begins, I urge you to watch it. You just might end up a witness—a witness to 'Merica's indisputable, irrefutable, unalienable arrival as a world soccer power. You could witness our national team's unrivaled diversity operating as one unit to overcome all the odds. You could witness history. You could be a part of history—a storyteller, to pass down to your children and grandchildren the unforgettable experience of watching, as one country with one heartbeat, our boys topple ze Germans in Brazil, conquering the Group of Death. Conquering fate.

Today, let's all be fans. Today, let's unite in solidarity to cheer our countrymen to victory. Today, let's all be witnesses.

I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!

Match of the Day: USA vs. GermanyThis one's for all the marbles. Klinsmann faces off against his home country, whom he coached to a third-place finish at the 2006 Cup (oh, have I mentioned he won in 1990 as a player?). There's no denying Klinsmann knows his stuff, but this is far and away his toughest challenge yet. The Germans are a member of fútbol's elite, and just because they don't need this win doesn't mean they're going to rest on their schnitzels. In fact, they're already promising no quarter shall be given. This bout will be hard-fought if nothing else. But these colors? They don't run. My Pick: USA 2, Germany 1

Player to Watch: Clint DempseyIt might be some time yet before our ear canals have the pleasure of "Deuce's" greatest-hits CD, so in the interim sit back and watch him put on a fútbol masterclass in this World Cup. With two goals in the first two games, he's our offensive spark plug more than ever (especially with Altidore ruled out). We'll need to see more heroics out of Captain America today for ze Germans to go down in flames. Dempsey, like his teammates, has no quit. Expect some heroics.

 

 

Match Day Dish: Blueberry Cobbler ('Merica)There's nothing as American as apple pie…except maybe blueberry cobbler. The little blue beauties (say that 3x fast) are indigenous to our stomping grounds, and make for a delightful dessert. Wash this recipe down with a nice, tall glass of Freedom. If you can't find Freedom at your local grocery, substitute a scosche of Justice for All instead. Make this dish after Team USA does the improbable today. Then take a picture of your creation and send it in to our Instagram account with the hashtag #CLKickingDishes for a chance to win prizes (details here). Happy World Cup day 15!

I BELIEVE.

Blueberry CobblerHands-on Time: 7 min. Total Time: 47 min. 

  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 2.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups vanilla fat-free ice cream
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place butter in an 8-inch square metal baking pan; place pan in oven 3 minutes or until butter melts.2. While butter melts, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, 6 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; stir with a whisk until blended. Combine milk, lemon rind, and vanilla; add to flour mixture, stirring with a whisk just until moist.3. Pour batter over melted butter in pan (do not stir); top with blueberries. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and crust is lightly browned. Serve with ice cream.

 

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