I am not a soccer fan - I find it to be pretty boring on TV and have never watched an entire game. Pete is trying to get into it as a replacement for hockey, given that we are entirely surrounded by the sport down here.
Yesterday, our friend Ruth and her Argentinian boyfriend Marcelo offered to take us to a soccer game. It is off-season in Argentina, but the big teams from Buenos Aires travel throughout the country playing demonstration games while the league is suspended. We enthusiastically agreed to go, anxious to see what all the fuss is about.
And what a "fuss" it was! The stadium was not even half full, yet the enthusiasm of the fans was overwhelming. Most stayed on their feet for the entire game, yelling chant after chant, waving all sorts of banners, and even setting off the odd firework. And this is off-season!! It was incredible, and the fans easily made it more exciting then any hockey game we have ever been to.
Throughout the game, we couldn't help but continually make many comparisons to our national sport equivalent of hockey. So many differences, eh?
- No drinking alcohol allowed! Can you imagine if beer wasn't allowed at a hockey game? I think the NHL would shut down.
- The best seats in the house were 50 Argentinian pesos, or roughly $14 each. A far cry from prices at the Saddledome...$40 or so for the cheap seats?
- Die-hard fans were segregated into two sections at either end of the field. At the end of the game, the announcement came that the Independiente fans were to leave first, the Racing fans were allowed to leave 15 minutes later. This is to prevent any post-game parking lot scuffles! I can't imagine this sort of system ever being implemented in Canada - are we not passionate enough about our game, or are we just too damn polite?
- The half time show did not include scantily dressed girls cleaning the field or fans competing in ridiculous races to win prizes. Instead, the only action we saw was when the riot police came on with their dogs, just in case anyone decided to rush the field.
- One thing I will forever be grateful for at the next hockey game I go to - not having to worry about the huge bugs flying around my head or crawling by my feet! Ew!
We are both so glad to have gone to this game - if only to just get an introduciton to the religion of fútbol before hopefully going to a big league game in Buenos Aires next month.
Oh yeah, and the score of this exciting game? 0-0. There were 2 goals, but both were called back. I unfortunately missed both of them, having instead been keeping an eye on some little critters that were getting too close...