Monday night brought us to the Gothia Cup Opening Ceremonies, something we’d long been looking for, not only because this would be the first Olympic-style Opening Ceremony for any of us, but also because the boys had been chosen to represent the United States during the Parade of Nations. Well, no matter what kind of grandiose expectations we had for the event, it’s more than safe to say the night flew far beyond our wildest dreams.
With parents and coaches seated in the stands with 52,000 other spectators in the sold-out Gamla Ullevi Stadium, the AKFC players and chaperones gathered outside the arena with players from 70 different countries, all prepared to march into the madness to represent their nations. For over an hour the crowd was treated to musical and dance performances as the teams entered, and then the moment we were all waiting for — the introduction of the United States of America. To a huge roar, not to mention everything from goosebumps to tears from the parents in attendance, our AKFC players entered the stadium.
Led by flag-bearer Ben Sande, they marched around the track and across the field to a huge ovation; our players waved their flags and held aloft their video cameras and generally just celebrated the moment.
Once the craziness subsided and all the nations had entered the arena, the ceremonies were concluded with a few more songs, the official opening of the games, and a fantastic fireworks show. To see some highlights of this wonderful event, find the YouTube video here (go to the 4-minute mark to see the entry of the United States).