This is a repost from “An Absolute Cracker”, a short-lived Tumblr of mine.

What a soccer day yesterday, with two big games. First — well, actually, first was the Championship promotion game between Blackpool and West Ham, which on most other days would be big, but yesterday it was little more than a footnote to my soccer day.

Anyway, first for real was the Champions League final. I was technically a neutral, but got pretty wound up in anti-Chelsea fervor during the run-up to the game. I really wanted Bayern to solidly beat Chelsea, if not outright humiliate them. Alas, it was not to be.

And then the second big game: the return to the field of my hometown team, the Austin Aztex. There’s a lot of history for me with the Aztex (a whole other blog‘s worth), but bottom line, I was just pumped to go to a live game again, without having to road-trip to Houston, Dallas or San Antonio for the privilege.

It was fantastic. This new team is “just” PDL (amateur, mostly college guys playing over their summer breaks), and the competition is “just” other teams from around Texas (El Paso, Laredo, Midland, etc.). But even though it was supposed to be a lower level of play than the previous pro Aztex team — and maybe it was, it’s hard to compare after just one game — it didn’t matter a bit. It was a blast.

Winning 6-1 over a team that had 2 players ejected didn’t hurt the celebratory homecoming, either. :-)

Here’s the double-decker bus we rode from the Lion & Rose to the stadium, also a blast. Bonus that nobody was decapitated by power lines or tree branches.

Lion & Rose bus for Eberly's Army

So the day featured two games from the farthest extremes of world soccer. From some of the biggest names in the game playing on manicured grass in a packed Allianz Arena, to a bunch of amateurs playing on artificial turf in a 70-year old high school football stadium.

Some fans might find that swing, from the very pinnacle of the game to essentially the very base, too far to stomach. But I love it. Because across all the miles and characters and stories, it’s still the exact. Same. Game.