This past week I took a trip full of excitement, drama, and surprises out East. I went to Indiana and Chicago as I played in a Power Soccer Cup in Fort Wayne. We did a bunch of cool things, but none cooler than Friday and Saturday. But, I noticed some accessibility issues in Chicago.
On July 8, the United States Power Soccer Association (USPSA) Founders Cup started in Fort Wayne with one team from Minnesota in it. The Courage Avalanche, out of Courage Center, had a 2-17 record going into the tournament. The first day of play was a round-robin format and was very low scoring, having at least one team score no goals in most games. Courage played in very close games the first day, going 0-1-2. The last game of the day, Jake Bell helped Courage complete a comeback by scoring two goals in the last ten minutes to tie the score. The round-robin round concluded early July 9 where Bell scored the lone goal as the Avalanche won, concluding the first stage of the tournament 1-1-2 with 5 points. It was good enough to seed them 3rd in the tournament round and earn a first-round bye.
In the Semi-Finals, Courage played Henry County, out of Indiana. Nobody wanted to lose this game, as it was scoreless through two overtimes. Both teams had chances to score, but the defense was too good. So, it came down to penalty kicks. Courage scored first, but Henry County answered. Shot after shot was stopped. Finally, Courage’s Nick Jones’s spin kick hit the corner of the goal and rolled in. Henry County’s last gasp failed, so Courage advanced to the championship game of the Founders Cup on July 9. That was a tense game for the fans to watch!
In the championship game, Courage faced Turnstone, out of Indiana. Turnstone got out to a quick lead and never looked back, defeating Courage six to zero. But, Courage gave it their best and the Avalanche received the 2nd place trophy and silver medals. The trophy will be displayed at Courage Center in Golden Valley in the near future.
That night, we made the three-hour trip to Chicago where my sister lives. After breakfast at an accessible Starbucks on July 10, we went to U.S. Cellular Field to watch the Twins-White Sox game. U.S. Cellular Field didn’t impress me. It was too enclosed and the seats seemed to be far away. We sat near the left field foul pole and it seemed a long way to home plate, unlike Target Field. Also, I had difficulties finding the score at the ballpark. The accessible seating was scary looking with a chain linked fence surrounding us. The concourses were too dark for my liking. One good thing: the Twins won 6 to 3! I am happy to announce that Target Field is much cooler and fan-friendlier.
After the game, we took Lake Shore Drive to Pequods Pizza in Lincoln Park. None of the shops on Webster Avenue were accessible (not good!). Luckily, Pequods was accessible. There, I found out that the U.S.A. woman’s soccer team won their World Cup match. And, yea, the pizza was excellent. When we left, we went to a famous cupcake place, which unfortunately had steps. My sister and mom brought some goodies out to me, though!
The highlight of the trip was participating in the Founders Cup and, despite its deficits, going to U.S. Cellular Field.
Written by: Michael L. Sack