Brushing the dust off an old bandwagon: Why I bought Orlando City Soccer 2015 Season Tickets

Is there a person alive in that does not know that the 2014 FIFA World Cup is happening now? As Americans hang on to the hope of a victory over or draw with Germany this Thursday, person after person seems to be jumping on the Futbol Bandwagon.

 

FIFA Fever in Downtown Orlando - Photo by Joe Petro - from the OCS Facebook page

FIFA Fever in Downtown Orlando – Photo by Joe Petro – from the OCS Facebook page

This is great news for Orlando City Soccer – who is doing pre-sales of season tickets for their inaugural year as a Major League Soccer team. The tickets for the yet to be announced 2015 schedule are being sold at a discounted rate through July 15th.

While the 2015 season will be played at the newly refurbished Citrus Bowl, season ticket holders will have priority renew status for the 2016 season at the brand new 18,000+ seat stadium which will be located downtown Orlando, one block from the Amway Center.

Ticket plans for the 20 game season range from $320 for general admission seating, to $1500 for club level – and all packages can be paid for on a 9 month installment for a small fee. This means that the paid-in-full price for an entry-level seat is only $16 a game, and on the payment plan, $17.50 a game.

For less than the price of an IMAX 3-D movie, you can lock in 20 evenings of history making, awe-inspiring entertainment.

So on the bandwagon I jump. This, however, is not a new ride for me. Although I am a card-carrying, red-blooded, fanatical Midwestern bred football fan – I went to high school where we only had soccer. My first boyfriend was a soccer player, and I was a cheerleader for the sport (yes, we had cheerleaders for soccer). There are many memories for me in this game, and I am excited to breath new air on this fire that once burned brightly for me.

I went with the general admission ticket – mostly because I am hoping to get others to go, and the lack of reserved seating is a selling point. However, being familiar with the student section at UCF Knight home games…. I know that this is where the real party will be anyway.

The representative from Orlando City Soccer who helped me with my plan was Marcelo, who can be reached directly at 407-480-4710. What are you waiting for? Hope to see you at the newest party in O-Town as Orlando City paints the town purple.

orlandocitysoccer

Club Crest from the Orlando City Soccer Club Facebook Page

The hot almost summer: Running the ECHO Half Marathon

20140608-153726-56246067.jpg

Florida sunrise: Photo by Megan AKA “Megalicious”

 

I was in a bad mood. Sore and tired from a rough race and delayed flight the night before – I was looking for a reason not to run another race this weekend.

Luckily, I looked for it with my friend Megan, who would not let me bail, no matter how hard I tried, and I did try.

  • The shirt and medal would probably be lame – it’s a small local race which was very inexpensive to enter. NO – she saw them at packet pickup – a pink shirt an adorable medal were waiting for me.
  • It was storming and the race might be canceled. NO – the storms had passed and had actually cooled down the temperature.
  • I was hurt (a neck strain and blisters) from running in the rain yesterday – I might get swept. NO – there is a 4 hour time limit, making it a walker friendly race.

So I drove to Osteen, Florida (which it turns out, is only 30 minutes from my house, right next to the Sanford International Airport) for the inaugural ECHO Half Marathon. Runners parked in a large field as the sun rose over the trees on the horizon. Familiar faces from the Orlando running community greeted me, as my spirits rose, a little.

The race started down the quite road, and soon turned onto the paved trails of Green Springs Park. The tree canopies here were beautiful, and as I looked out over the calm waters of Lake Monroe – I remembered why I love Florida so much.

20140608-153726-56246634.jpg

Miles 9-11.5 were very hot – but in fairness, it is June, and it is Florida. The race directors not only had ample water at every stop – there were 14 water stops in a 13 mile race. In addition there were Icy Pops and Cookies at mile 5, and Gels at mile 7. Although I did not see them – other runners told me there were Jello Shots along the way as well. I cannot confirm this, but I would not be surprised by it!

At the finish line, the medal, which was indeed beautiful – was accompanied by an assortment of food and festivities. Dunkin Donuts had donut holes and coffee, while BBQ was provided with unlimited free beer and Ice Cold Strawberries. Shuttles took runners back to the start line, while those who has stayed at the host hotel near the finish (shuttles were provided to the start line) made their way back.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This race was started with the goal of raising awareness of the new East Central Regional Rail-Trail, which will eventually span 52 miles from Enterprise to Edgewater.

The organizers website explains that “The ECHO Grant has enabled the trails to be built. Local runners, walkers and bikers are utilizing portions of these trails every day thanks to ECHO. We want to ensure the publicity gets out about these trails and the importance of continuing the efforts to complete the rail-trail in its full vision”.

A friend of mine, who lives in the area noticed my Facebook check-in for the race and asked me about the trails, interested in biking them. He had been unaware they were completed. I realized in this small example, that the vision of this race was being realized.

It was a beautiful day, and I am glad I ran. Although I was still sore and tired, I left with spirits much higher than I had arrived with. I would run this race again and would recommend it to anyone looking for an often hard to find June half-marathon in the south.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back at the Splash and Dash

Yesterday I received a discount code for the 2nd annual “Splash and dash fun run” at Lake Baldwin Park in Orlando. While I will not be going this year, several people have asked about this race, so I found my review and decided to repost it… the following are my reflections from a year ago:

This past weekend I participated in the Orlando Sport and Social Clubs first Splash N’ Dash event at Lake Baldwin. As I continue my review and reflection on the event, it is important to note that they are not race organizers, but social directors. Looking at their website, you will find the opportunity for several sports leagues, from football to kickball, as well as social events such as Bar Crawls and happy hours. The first thing I will say is, never have I seen so much food BEFORE a race, Lime Fresh was making Nachos and Tacos, Dunkin Donuts with coffee and donut holes, and Mini Subs from Jersey Mikes.  There were runners and their families milling about eating, and I indulged in a little pineapple salsa from Lime Fresh since it is one of my very favorite things, and I imagined it would be done by the time we finished running. 

 
I peered into my bag and saw the t-shirt (not technical) and some coupons, but no race bib. I looked around and noticed, no one has a race bib, this is obviously not timed… but how do they know who is supposed to be here?  It was hard to tell even by the way people were dressed, kids inflatable toys on their heads, a guy in a speedo, lots of costumes… this was indeed a “fun run”.
 
The race begins and we start running around Lake Baldwin.  I know it ends at the slip n slide, and I know it is 2.5 miles around the lake, so I already know this is not actually a 5K. It is hot and muggy, and I am actually looking forward to having some squirt guns pointed at me… then my mind begins to wander. There is no way of knowing who actually paid to be here, no identification for who belongs. Runners did bring filled water balloons for the fight which would ensue after the race… and by the piles of them, most of these people must have brought plenty. 

What the Orlando Sport and Social Club had created here, and what they work to create in all of their events, is community. Did it matter who belongs here? We all belong here.  On this hot and muggy Saturday morning hundreds and hundreds of strangers had come together for one cause: to have fun.  Fun is something we often forget to have in our adulthood.  When it is there, it is often calculated and organized… and lacks the spontaneity and exuberance of youth. The rest of the run I focused on one thing… the smiles on the faces of all of the people around me… all races and ages standing together letting their morning drift into enjoyment and laughter.

Food, Fun, and Firemen at the Splash and Dash Fun Run 2013

Food, Fun, and Firemen at the Splash and Dash Fun Run 2013


The end of the race came with a fire truck and a “real” fireman spraying us with the firehose (gently), which people seemed to love. The food venues were not out of food, in fact, a large van from buffalo wild wings had joined them with a BUFFET of hot wing selections.  People were laughing and dancing and eating and playing, getting ready for the water balloon fight. 

There are some things that could be done to make this race better next year… however this event reminded me of how the weekend is supposed to be, but often isn’t. I want to thank the Orlando Sport and Social Club for making me remember that sometimes, I take life a little to seriously. 

The 2014 race will  be held on July 26 – From their website:

Things are starting to heat up in Orlando and the best way to cool down is the 2014 Splash ‘n Dash on 7/26! Participants will experience SPLASH zones & DASH zones and a 75 ft slip n slide! Don’t forget to stick around for the HUGE post race water balloon fight, so prepare to Get Wet This Summer!

Save $10 on your registration when you enter the
Coupon code SNDFR410. Coupon expires Wed 06/18/2014.