Wow! I was truly surprised when Four Pins offered to send me down to Brazil to cover the World Cup. I have almost no reporting background, and have far less soccer knowledge than, say, someone who covers soccer for a living. Many soccer writers, as well as many reporters in general, were very upset after Complex Media announced they were sending me down on their own dime. Many writers, including some of those who work for this website, quit their jobs in anger of how inexplicable it is that I'm being sent to Brazil. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but this is such a cool opportunity that I am not going to question it. I write this as I sit on the plane that will presumably take me to Rio (I say "presumably" because of the uncertainty the Malaysian incident has put into the hearts of all those who travel by air!), and I am so excited to watch the best soccer the world has to offer for the next month. Few events unite the globe the way the World Cup does, and it will be incredible to see all these different countries and cultures come together firsthand. I look forward to relaying my dispatches, as I believe this spectacle will inspire some of the best writing of my career.
Just arrived in my hotel, the beautiful Sheraton Barra Hotel & Suites. My room overlooks the great city of Rio, but I will have to put staring out the window on hold as I am excited to get a few hours of shuteye before I spend tomorrow wandering around Rio. I am hoping to interview some of the locals during my wandering. Four Pins has me strictly staying in Rio for the World Cup—not traveling to the other locales in Brazil where games will be played, like San Paulo, but that's okay. I'm sure I'll be fine here. The first game in Rio does not take place until June 15th, where Argentina will take on Bosnia-Herzegovina. Playing two countries at once sounds difficult, but I am sure Argentina will be up for the challenge. I look forward to seeing that game.
Woke up and had a delicious continental breakfast in the lobby this morning: a danish and a black coffee, if you're wondering. I walked outside for about twenty minutes and interviewed two people (who really didn't give me a whole lot to work with) before I had to come inside and take a nap. Still a little jet-lagged, I guess! Before I knew it, it was 5pm and I figured no one wanted to be bothered on the streets so late. I didn't look into any of the local eateries (whoops!), so I ordered room service for dinner (an incredible medium-rare burger and fries!) and then watched HBO on the incredible 40-inch flat-screen the Sheraton Barra Hotel & Suites so graciously provide to all their guests. Time for sleep now, I suppose. Looking forward to seeing the game tomorrow!
You just are not going to believe what happened to me today! The bus I was taking to the stadium broke down about halfway there. Rats. What a bummer! Unfortunately, I didn't know how to get to the stadium from where we were stranded, so I had to hike all the way back to my wonderful hotel room! To make matters worse, I didn't wear sunscreen, so I got a nasty burn on my neck and nose. Ouch. I just stayed in my room for the rest of the day, applying anti-sunburn medication religiously. The Bourne Ultimatum was on HBO—a film I very much enjoy—so that made things somewhat bearable. The next game in Rio is unfortunately not until the 18th, where Spain will play Chile (brrrrr! Haha j/k). Hopefully the bus will be repaired by then, and I can finally see a game!
Just tended to my sunburn today, nothing special. Lucky for me the beds at the Sheraton Barra Hotel & Suites are very comfy and easy to relax on!
Received an email from my Four Pins editor, as he wanted to see what I had written so far. Boy, was he not thrilled. Some might even say he was the opposite of thrilled. Apparently, he had expected more about the World Cup and Brazil, and less about my sunburn and the Sheraton Barra Hotel & Suites. He says I need to really step my game up, and he's right. Tomorrow is the Spain vs. Chile match, and I am excited to go and watch, and really experience the World Cup that I have unfortunately missed out on so far. I will not let my editor, me or you, the reader, down. Just a side note: If you're ever staying in Rio, I implore you to stay at the Sheraton Barra Hotel & Suites. It is a really excellent place to spend your down time at.
Took a "me" day and stayed in.
Rats! Totally forgot the game yesterday. I stayed in my wonderful room, kept the blinds shut all day (as to prevent further sunburn) and watched HBO (The Bourne Ultimatum—great flick!). I like the room service here so much that after I finished the June 17 correspondence, I wrote a list of food that I would like to eat for my three meals each day, to be delivered at the appropriate times. I'm doing this also so I don't have to keep bothering the staff with my calls. I dropped it off with the excellent customer service folk at the front desk, who were confused by my request at first, but then obliged once I started weeping. What can I say, I panicked! Also, I've started wearing a bed sheet instead of my normal clothing because my clothes irritate my sunburn and the sheets provided by the Sheraton Barra Hotel & Suites are really topnotch in the softness department. The next game in Rio isn't until the 22nd, and ugh, it's Belgium vs. Russia.
Just kind of stayed in bed all day.
I’ve started peeing into water bottles, but hear me out: I recently realized just how far away the bathroom is from my bed, and the bed at the Sheraton Barra Hotel & Suites is a really comfortable bed. I also decided to order $100 worth of food from room service, so I wouldn't have to keep interrupting my viewing of The Bourne Ultimatum. This way, all my food is right by my bed. Pretty smart, huh? My editor called today and screamed at me.
Come on, there was no way I was going to go to the Belgium vs. Russia game, even if I had left my room at some point during the past week.
My editor called me again today, and he was crying. He kept talking about "how much money we spent on you" and that I've "become a shut-in" who has "completely lost his mind." When I protested (as I am want to do when someone comes at me with serious allegations like that!) he said anyone who "watches that much Bourne" cannot be healthy. He also wonders if I will even be coming home, and if they'll need to get the "jaws of Life" (can't be a real thing) to get me out of bed. Good god man, cool it with the melodrama! I'm still writing, aren't I? It’s not about the World Cup or Brazil or whatever, but something better. Something that actually matters to me: The Sheraton Barra Hotel & Suites. Oh yeah, I walked outside today because I dropped the remote out the window by mistake because the sun frightened me.
My urine tastes better than I expected.
Just kind of took it easy today and stayed in bed. There might have been a game earlier in the day, but I'm not sure. My fingernails are really long. Also, has anyone noticed that germs cover EVERYTHING?
I am writing this from an airplane. Apparently, Complex Media was not confident that I would come home at the end of the World Cup, so they decided to "cut their losses" and send 6 of their goons to forcibly remove me from my hotel room at the Sheraton Barra Hotel & Suites. What a bummer, I really enjoyed that hotel. I am disappointed that I will not be staying at it any longer, but I am confident that I can find similar Sheratons in the United States.
All in all, I would consider this trip a success. I got to visit a different country and I got to stay in a quality hotel. I watched The Bourne Ultimatum 77 times, which was nice. I drank my own urine, which was somewhat freeing. I also got to relax a lot. I like relaxing. It's a good way to spend one's time. I also found chilling out to be quite fun.
Well, this has been Brendan O'Hare, reporting from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. I hope you enjoyed my correspondence and maybe even learned a thing or two. Also, if you are ever in Rio, I know of a great hotel you could stay out. Just email me and I’ll give you some more information.
Brendan O'Hare is attempting to be a writer and comedian while living in NYC. Follow his comedy jokes on Twitter here.