No! It was obvious something was wrong. Saturday morning, 7 a.m., was way too quiet. No furnace running was the big tipoff.
The electricity had gone out! No big deal, except that the United States was set to play Netherlands in the knockout round of the World Cup at 8 a.m. One hour away! I had been waiting with much anticipation and now it had all gone dark.
A quick check of the internet on the phone showed the only power outage in the entire state of New Mexico was in Valencia County. The only one — 115 customers — and we were one of them. The estimated restore time? 10 a.m. Just in time to watch the USA victory celebration and the post-match commentary.
Panic started to set in, although it was surprising I didn’t throw things or scream. The neighbors didn’t have power either, so a visit to them wasn’t a solution. No sports bars in Valencia County are open that early. Driving to Albuquerque would take too long. To bring back a phrase from my youth, “I’m shafted.”
How did I get to this point, becoming such a soccer nerd? Twenty-five years ago, my daughter, Paige, came home from school and proclaimed she wanted to play soccer. What? Are you crazy? Soccer is too boring. Nobody plays it in the United States anyway. My buddy Ron jokingly needles me about my futbol devotion, calling soccer a “commie sport.”
But along the way, my wife, Pat, ended up as the head coach of the Los Lunas High School girls’ soccer team for seven years. I volunteered as a coach for the Valencia High School boys’ team, trying to teach the intricacies of the game while, at the same time, learning the intricacies of the game myself. I was hooked.
Back to the problem at hand. Paige suggested downloading the Peacock streaming app and watch on my phone. Fat chance. Julia and Makayla in the office are well aware of my ineptitude with technology, bailing me out on a daily basis. Besides, I’m a big screen TV guy.
However, desperate times call for desperate measures. With some help, the app was downloaded in just five minutes, right before kickoff. I only had access to Telemundo so my first streaming experience was in Spanish. No problemo.
The commercials taught me that “La magica de creer,” translated to “The magic of believing,” and “Vajamos juntos” is “Let’s go together.” Nice thoughts this time of year.
The play-by-play announcer was very dramatic with his trilling, reminding me that my inability to roll my Rs probably cost me an A in college Spanish. Or not.
Four minutes into the game the electricity in the house came back on. Yes!! The television was reset just in time to watch the Dutch celebrating a goal. Of course, we didn’t see the actual score. That’s the thing about soccer. If you look away, you miss the key play of the game. Never fails.
Still, the game was back on the big screen. Eventually, the Netherlands would knock the USA out of the World Cup 3-1. Not the result we were hoping for but for the first time in years the U.S. men show real promise.
Now our sights are set on the future. First up, the Women’s World Cup is scheduled this summer for Australia and New Zealand. While that is too expensive for me, the next men’s World Cup will be held in North America in 2026. Count me in. And to avoid any possible power outages or technological catastrophes, a road trip is in the planning stages.
Wait. Will I have to download the tickets? Noooo!!!
Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.