Maurine Dorneles subbed in for Andressa Cavalari at the Hamilton soccer stadium. Dorneles went to take the corner. The long, black hair, ponytailed Brazilian kicked the football for the first time. With the wind’s assistance, the football curved towards the net. The goalkeeper was out of range to make a play. Two other Colombian players tried to jump and head the football, but they weren’t tall. The football reached the back of the net untouched. Dorneles put the women’s Brazilian football team ahead 2-0 in the 75th minute. She ran towards the centre of the field as her teammates jumped her. Dorneles’ face had tears of goal.
“That’s the greatest goal I’ve seen in person,” Paul said. “Me too,” I replied as I had to clap in my Colombian jersey with the rest of the pro-Colombian stadium. In this small city of half-a-million people, I witnessed football magic. Brazil won the Pan Am Women’s Gold Medal Football Match 4-0.
Fifteen-years ago, several of my high school friends went to McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. Sometimes I visited them to go out partying. In areas around the university and Hess Village’s party scene, the city feels like it doubles in size during the school semesters. None of my friends lived here after graduating nor raved about Hamilton.
After the ceremony, Paul and I walked along Barton Street towards the room we rented on Airbnb. The street didn’t have much people walking along it on Saturday evening. It felt like a ghost town. We walked by houses and small businesses. A middle-aged couple was sitting in front of their house and eating microwave food. Across from them they had a great view of a convenience store. As we continued, we saw a lot of litter on the street. Paul and I couldn’t imagine living in this city.
On Sunday morning, we packed our bags and drove up the hill on Mountain Brow Boulevard. My Google Maps took us off-course and we had to compensate with Red Hill Parkway to arrive at Albion Falls. The falls were busy with sightseers and families. It made photographing Albion Falls challenging. The other visitors had as much right to be there as us. “It’s good to see people enjoying a Sunday afternoon,” Paul said to me. We managed to make a photo or two and returned to Toronto.