Sooooo...way back in September, my husband and I booked a trip to Manchester. If you've read this blog, you know that the two of us eat, breathe, sleep and live Manchester United. Actually going to Old Trafford, and seeing our beloved football team play at their home stadium is a trip of a lifetime, a pilgrimage...a dream come true.
When we first decided it was time for us to pay homage to Old Trafford, it was incredibly exciting. I couldn't believe I was actually going to experience this storied ground that I'd seen on television, that I'd heard so much about from friends in Manchester, and that I'd read and dreamed about. As exciting as it was, there were many pieces of the puzzle that had to fit together just perfectly in order for our dream to become a reality.
First off, we had to wait for the 2010/2011 fixtures list to come out. Obviously, we are going to see United play; it's our passion and our reason for making the trip. So we had to make sure they were going to have a match at Old Trafford during our visit!
Secondly, we had to decide what time of year to go, and what match we wanted to see. As parents, a childless, transatlantic trip just wasn't feasible for us in the fall. Our children have school starting, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. All things very important to our boys - not only the actual day of, but all of the fun events and activities leading up to it. So, we would go after the first of the year, we decided. Again, spring poses the same problems for parents as the fall does, (Spring sports, Easter, etc.) but luckily, the very important City derby was the weekend of February 11th. We found our match.
One hurdle was left. In order to obtain tickets for the match, you have to apply for tickets. Unfortunately, the ballot didn't begin accepting applications until December 31 for a February match. If we wanted to go, there was no way we could wait that long to book flights or a hotel without spending the boys' university fund in the process. So, we had to take a gamble, book the flights & hotel, and just hope for the best in the ticket draw.
As soon as applications began being accepted, I was right on the computer submitting ours. I crossed my fingers, said a prayer, and put our dream into the hands of the football gods. After waiting 21 long, agonizing days to hear something from the United ticket office, I got "the" e-mail this morning. The one I dreaded. The one that broke my heart the minute someone over there hit Send.
"As we were heavily over-subscribed, a ballot has taken place and unfortunately your application was unsuccessful on this occasion."
Devastated. Gutted. Heartbroken. Dejected. All of these words don't even begin to scratch the surface of what I feel. I get that most people won't understand this. 'It's only a soccer game.' Ha. If you truly follow United, you know it's a religion, a passion, an integral part of your life. And this trip was more than a vacation with a football match thrown in for fun. It's even more than a dream come true, as I've described it. Going to Old Trafford is something that I know will make me breathe a little quicker, and send chills down my spine the moment I walk in. It's something that a supporter from over 3,500 miles away can usually only imagine...
They took that away from me.
Thankfully, through Twitter, I've met some really fantastic people who are trying their best to help me (you know who you are, and I love you for it). There is also a second ballot in a couple of weeks, and a ticket exchange. I can't even begin to express how desperate I feel, and how much I am hoping against hope that some miracle happens for us.
For now, it's a waiting game...