Monday, 10 December 2012

Are you ready for some futbol?

This past weekend John and I wanted to go to a futbol game, or as we would call it back home, a soccer game.  We learned that two local teams were playing on Saturday night, and one of them, Club Belgrano, plays only a few blocks from our apartment.  John’s secretary had told us that the game starts at 7:30 pm but to be at the stadium by 6pm to get our tickets.

Finally found the right stadium

After walking to the local club, a street vendor told us that they don’t play their games at that stadium and only hold practices there.  We would need to get a taxi, which we did, and go to the Estadio Marco Tempe which was located on the outskirts of the city near our old apartment.

Home team entrance gate
The guidebooks all warned us not to wear team colours, lest you end up sitting in the wrong section.  When we arrived at the stadium, there was a great stream of people in blue team jerseys waving giant blue flags, all of them cheering and singing songs while impromptu bands played drums and horns.  Police on horseback watched over the mass of people while street vendors sold chorzipan, water, tshirts, flags, and other merchandise. 

The ticket booth
John approached the ticket office but all the seats in the home section were sold out.  We had to walk back out to the road and hike all the way around the giant stadium to the ticket booth where they sold tickets for the visitors section.  What a difference!!! On the visitor’s side, a few people straggled toward the entrance through the heavy police presence, nothing like the throngs of people on the home team side.

The 'band' warms up prior to the game

Once inside we found a seat in the shade (general admission tickets by this time) and watched as the pre-game hoopla reached its frenzied pinnacle. The stadium was divided into two sections – the enormous home section which was comprised of one end zone and both the east and west side of the stadium which were all packed with people in blue, and then one end zone for the fans of the visiting team which was barely one-quarter full.   The visiting team, Estudiante, had fans that were few in number but no less passionate. They were all dressed in their team colours – red and white – and our section also had a band, and flags, and team songs to sing. 

Inside the stadium - a sea of Belgrano Blue
From the moment we entered the stadium until the whistle blew for halftime, the fans for both teams never ever stopped.  The band of fans with their drums and horns played continuously while everyone stood and sang and waved flags and jumped up and down.  I’ve been to many professional sporting events but this was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  It was two local teams playing and yet the fans were so energetic and passionate that you would have thought it was game 7 of the World Series or the Stanley Cup. 

At half time, the bands stopped, the flags came down and everyone took a quick break. There is no halftime show or entertainment – it’s all about the game.  When half time was over, Club Belgrano’s fans unfurled a flag that covered the entire end zone seating area. It was pretty spectacular.

The giant Belgrano flag - wow!

Twenty minutes before the end of the game, the score was still tied at 0 – 0 and John and I decided to leave early to beat the crazy traffic jam that was sure develop at the end of the game.  Everyone else stayed til the bitter end.  On the taxi ride home, we listened to the radio broadcast of the game and Club Belgrano scored on a penalty kick, which we then watched in replays on TV at home.   It would have been exciting to see it live at the stadium but c’est la vie…..

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for posting on my blog!