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Canyon of Heroes Salute for US Women's Soccer Team. Thanks News Radio 880.

POSTED July 12, 2015
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: It may have taken a while, 55-years to be exact but a women’s team was honored on Friday in the Greatest City in the World, New York with a ticker-tape parade up the Canyon of Heroes.

Back in 1960, Carol Heiss was honored with a parade after winning a Gold Medal in Figure Skating. On Friday, the United States women’s soccer team became the first team to be given their own parade for winning the World Championship on Sunday in a stunning 5-2 win over favored Japan.

While not in NYC to take in the festivities myself, thanks to television and the radio, I was able to take most of it in.

Had a bunch of errands to run around the area from Canton to Waterbury starting soon after the parade kicked off as I prepared for vacation which starts in a matter of moments so I heard most of the event on the radio.

I am one of those people who still gets into an event over the airwaves, if it’s done right and when it comes to my favorite city in the world (sorry San Diego, your second) there is no better place to listen in than News Radio 880.

They had multiple reporters spread up and down the parade route and would go to each at times to let them paint the world picture (credit the late, great Bob Murphy) of what they saw happening around them.

When done right and without trying to be more important than the story unfolding in front of them, the 880 gang did a great job of making me feel like I was there.

When the ceremony wound up at City Hall, they stayed with the festivities with very limited commercial interruptions, allowing the listener the opportunity to imagine themselves there.

Isn’t that the job of a good radio person after all?

At City Hall, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio welcomed the team and aside from having to sound like a pitch man thanking all the sponsors (seems a little beneath a mayor), did a fine job of keeping things moving.

The women’s team has seemed to capture the attention of the country, at least for the moment but you hope it may have a more lasting effect on how many girls take up soccer at an early age, wanting to be in that kind of parade someday.

That is how it started for so many of us growing up, watching the Mets (not very often) or Yankees (too often) players in the convertibles make their way down the streets of the big city.

Not sure when we got away from the cars but I get it, hard to see from ten rows back if the honorees are three feet off the ground and not on a bus or float as the women were on Friday.

How many of us wished that was us in one of those cars when we were growing up?

That’s how things get bigger and bigger, when folks dream about it when they’re young.  

Abby Wambach, she of 183 career international goals, saluted the crowd and had a special message for their fans.

“All of this for us started when we were little and we had a dream, it was ‘She Believes’” Wambach said. “In my opinion all the women believed in that dream and kept believing in that dream, not only from the time we were five or ten or fifteen but through the time we won the World Cup.”

That was clearly a message to the young girls across the country who will decide if this buzz is temporary of if girls’ soccer grows from it.

Carli Lloyd, who could run for office at this point, thanked the gathering and promised, “We will continue to make you proud.”

It’s an important time for the women’s game. Can they capitalize on this momentum and keep the ball rolling?

Many of the players will go back to playing with their teams as early as this weekend and you have to figure anywhere they show up, the crowds should increase.

Taking advantage of this time in the history of women’s soccer will determine how far the needle moves in the USA soccer movement in general.

They were an easy team to root for, they played hard but under control with a passion and emotion that separated them from a field that probably didn’t fear them out of the chute.

On Friday, a grateful city and country got to say thanks in a way only New York can.

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