Earthquakes road trips are mini-reunions for defender Wade Barrett (left).
Greg Bartram/MLS/

Barrett: The wonders of will call

Sweatin', Quakes fans, sweatin' up a storm. I don't know who told us downtown loft living was the way to go, but they must never have been in one of these sweat boxes in mid-July. It's like Haley and I are preparing to have a Bikram yoga class up in here. Anyway, as I'm sitting hear with my steaming cup of coffee (that might explain things, of course) I am in prime position to check out all the pictures we have decorating the front of our refrigerator. Oh man, what a great trip that was to Vegas with Ritt and Lenny and Meredith!¹ And what a fantastic Thanksgiving we had with Brody and Alli and Keith!² And how about that sweet trip to Hawaii with Haley after the 2002 Playoffs!³ Without a doubt, though, the majority of pictures have been taken at soccer games, where family and friends have gathered to enjoy a nice day at the stadium to see me play with the Quakes. This weeks' diary, folks, is a tribute to the Will Call window.

The Will Call window is a place my family and friends have come to know well. Some of the best moments on the road are when you get to see people you haven't seen in a long time. From the players end, this can actually get a little complicated. First you need to get in touch with everyone who might be coming to the game. Sometimes this means legwork for Mom and Dad if extended family is coming, or one friend bucking up and totaling all the other folks who might be joining in. Then comes the fun part when you tell the Team Admin how many tickets you need. Shaun - our go to guy - is very good about trying to accommodate us as best he can, even if we get a little stink eye in return. This usually means some phone calls or e-mails from him to make sure the numbers will work out. Next comes the confirmation phone call to everyone to make sure they are all still in, and who will be showing up together or at separate times, so the tickets can be left all in one envelope or multiple envelopes. We get to the stadium an hour and a half before kickoff, so we usually give the tickets to the Will Call guy as soon as we get there. Now, I realize this really isn't too complicated, as I said earlier, but it is important to have it all organized beforehand. You don't want to show up to the stadium and be worrying about getting tickets to everyone when your mind should be set on the game. I'm a simpleton, OK, don't make me multitask.

Our game against New York this year is a great example of a solid visit with folks from Will Call. A few of my closest friends from college live in New York, so I left one envelope for them. Haley's family lives throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and they made up a large portion of the tickets. My family from Virginia and New Jersey also came and rounded out the fan club. I got busy with game time - a 1-0 win over the Metros - and they got busy at the tailgate and concession stand. Really, it was a good time for all. I met all of the family back at the hotel for some good food and laughs, then took off to the Big Apple to join in for a great night with my friends in the City&sup4;.

Overall, it is great that MLS has teams in such fantastic cities, and a few of these trips every year are made even better with the inclusion of family and friends in the stands. So Lurch, Ryan, Annie, Mom, Dad, Mamaw, Ray and all the rest of the Barrett clan, see you in D.C.!

Will Call,

1 – Except for the $500 I lost at the stinkin' Blackjack tables.
2 – Except for the stinkin' fried turkey that left peanut oil all over our deck.
3 – Except that we lost to C-bus in the first round and Haley got food poisoning at Cheeseburger in Paradise.
4 – Seeing everyone was great, but the tapas and sangria were pretty good too.