I was so excited when Husband managed to get tickets for the Olympics women’s football final, USA vs Japan, at Wembley. This was going to be my first match at the new Wembley, and Munchkin’s first football match, trip to Wembley and live Olympics event all in one. I’d been concerned about being able to make it because I can’t walk far at the moment, but the journey was very easy and I managed to walk there slowly from the nearest station. It was a long walk and involved lifts and escalators but no steps so I got there in the end!
Catching our first glimpse of the stadium was so exciting and we, like most of the other visitors, took lots of photos. I was just as excited as Husband and Munchkin. Lots of people had make a big effort with their costumes: we saw men and women dressed in flags, faces painted, balloon hats, men and women in kimonos, a samurai and even a full kendo kit complete with sword. The atmosphere was fantastic!
So, what was it like actually being in Wembley stadium, after the almost heroic effort it had taken for me to get there? Honestly? Terrifying! Unfortunately, the booking website didn’t show where our seats were or the view from them, and I suffer from vertigo (basically an irrational fear of the effects of gravity). We’d paid £45 a seat and ended up just 3 rows down from the very top, almost as high as you could get. I panicked, struggled up the steps, sat down, then started to feel dizzy. Husband and Munchkin were great did their best to calm me down (“Mummy, don’t worry, it’s alright, just hold my hand”) and reassure me but no, I really, really couldn’t do it. So back down we went, with me slowly edging my way down the stairs sideways on like a terrified crab so that I didn’t have to look down. All that physical and mental effort to get there and I was beaten by my irrational vertigo. I have rarely felt more useless and silly in my entire life.
Thankfully, Customer Services (thank you Caroline!) were able to allocate us some less terrifying seats a few rows down but I still couldn’t watch much of the game, although I was well aware of the (not many) empty seats much further down. Thank goodness Munchkin has inherited his father’s lack of fear of heights and had a great time. Munchkin particularly enjoyed the half-time music and danced along energetically.
What I saw of the match was very good. Japan had more control of the ball and made many more attempts at scoring than the US. The crowd were very much behind Japan, with lots of chanting of “Nippon”, but in the end the US won 2-1. Maybe it was just me but the US team seemed to spend a lot of time rolling around on the floor then getting up quickly when the referee walked on past them, which wasn’t impressive.
So in the end it was a great experience, but not one I dare repeat in case the seats are just as bad next time.