I carry a bit of a reputation for being cheap. It is not without some merit. In selecting my hotel room in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for ODP, I checked multiple websites, entered absurdly low bids and ultimately settled on The Master’s Inn. Shortly after midnight (local time), Bryson and I pulled into the parking lot which was surprising lively for that hour with day laborers, “permanent” residents, and couples with no place else to “get it on.”
“Dad this is ghetto. You know you’re white right.”
The front desk clerk was an aged white woman missing several key teeth in the lower jaw, and the line at her window, as the “lobby” was closed, was three deep at 12:30am. The room was modest, but notably short on towels and as of this writing, I still haven’t found the remote control for the TV. It has a fridge and microwave which remained on for several minutes after I took my hot dog out of it.
My room overlooks the pool, a scene of white flight. By mid-afternoon a group of 5 white women occupied a table and chatted with a separate white couple on the opposite corner of the pool. The next time I looked out over the pool, several young black children were swimming and playing.
Then a large black woman, as wide as she was tall, aggressively moved to the pool, I was struck by the thought…..no way she can swim, and that being the case who the hell is gonna save her. I glanced at the white people, who appeared frozen in anticipation of what was about to happen. Surprisingly, she made two graceless lunges in the shallow end of the pool, and settled for some low energy frolicking without incident. Within thirty minutes, the white people were gone, and for the next three hours the pool was filled with black people.
Optimistically, there are several reasons that the pool scene played out like each race had an assigned block of time, but cynically, it is reflective of a continuing divide and lack of acceptance of one another as humans. All people are different, but seemingly so long as they are cloaked in the same pigment they can remain comfortable and at ease in each other’s presence.
On a lighter note, our first day did not feature any soccer. Bryson and I met up with his FC America teammate, John Rivera and his father and set out to find Bryant Denny Stadium, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. The stadium is enormous, but features no parking. I did not see a garage or open lot anywhere in the vicinity. There was a substantial graveyard however. We took pictures, and located the soccer facilities. At noon, I dropped Bryson at the dorm and was left to my own devices.
I found Barnes and Noble, and watched FBGM POY Joel Berry lead the USA U-17 team to the championship over Australia. I hit the grocery store and spent the rest of the day bored out of my mind. I had dinner with John Rivera, and finally heard from Bryson that training had been cancelled and that he spent most of his day eating pasta.
Game Day tomorrow.
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