Soccer in Argentina is everything. For example, after watching an Argentine team win a championship in a bar, several fans left the bar crying tears of joy. On ESPN, it’s rare to see a Sportscenter Top 10 clip that is from any other sport. Messi jerseys can be bought anywhere in Argentina, even in China Town. Fans of soccer teams hope to be cremated after death, only to have their ashes dropped on their soccer team’s home field. Since living in Argentina, I began to learn that soccer is much more than a sport here; it’s an integral part of their culture. As a result, I deemed watching a game of futbol in Argentina to be a necessity.
A group of several students in my program and I decided to go to a soccer game to see one of Buenos Aires’ most historic teams, Racing Club. We were told to wear blue and white, for wearing colors of the other team on accident was a legitimate danger to safety. When we arrived to the stadium, the painted colors on the stadium were very bright, something I hadn’t remembered seeing in stadiums in the U.S.
|Standing outside of the stadium, waiting for the game to begin.|
While standing outside the stadium, we saw a television-quality camera and interviewer interviewing people around the stadium. Soon after seeing the camera walking from person to person, the television crew intercepted our group, commencing an interview in Spanish. I was away from where the camera pointed in the interview, allowing myself to snag quality pictures of the event. Joey, a friend that went with me, answered all of the questions without hesitation. The question that stood out most to me in my memory regarded why Americans decided to go to a Racing Club match. In Joey’s answers, he described how Racing Club was the best and the stadium created an image akin to a blue sea.
|Joey being interviewed on national television.|
Inside the stadium, the crowd was going wild before the game even started. Many songs were being sung, and I understood none of them. Without any understanding, the passion of the fans towards their team was incredible. All fans had the same chanting moves, for it appeared they had done these chants since they were born. In addition, I noticed a fenced off portion of the stadium where all of the seats were empty. I asked around as to why no one sat there, and learned that the government made it illegal for visiting fans to attend games; violence between opposing fans was too big of an issue that the government intervened.
| When the game began, several colorful
banners flew down from the top of the stadium.
In the photo, you can see all of the fans
cheering wildly on their feet below.
Throughout the game, fans continued to sing, and drums were beaten with impressive intensity. For much of the game, neither team had scored a goal. Luckily, in the final few minutes of the game, Racing scored an impressive left-footed, half-volley goal from outside of the box. Qué golazo!!! The crowd erupted in cheers and songs, distracting my attention from the game for the next five minutes. In the end, Racing Club won the game 1-0. Vamos Racing!! After attending an Argentine soccer game, I realized how lethargic American fans are in support of their teams in comparison to soccer fans in Argentina. I hope to go to another soccer game here in the future, for it was quite the experience.
Eric Straka is the Fall 2015 MOJO Blogger in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is currently a Junior at the University of San Diego.
| Translated Racing, always for Racing, this shows the
fervor fans had for the club. The woman depicted was a
food seller at the stadium for many years, and she now lives there.
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