Yesterday, I went to my first fútbol (soccer) match. Not only was this my first one ever (never been to an MLS game) this was also my first World Cup qualification match.
I learned about the game about a month ago from one of many taxi drivers. I immediately told me co-worker that we needed to go. He agreed and told me he would find us some tickets.
Being the sports enthusiast that I am, I needed to find out more about the National Stadium and the tickets prices. I searched online, using Google of course :), and found nothing. No online ticket exchange and no stadium map. I was able to find a partial map that was catered for a Justin Bieber concert last year. WTF
I did find a craigslist type site that was posting tickets for sale. However, my co-worker told me fake tickets are rampant in Perú so we have to go through his network of friends. Then, I got some bad news – my co-worker could no longer attend the game with me because it was his father’s birthday and his father did not want to attend.
Determined - I decided to go solo. My co-worker was able to get a ticket and I only had to pay a 67% mark-up.
I head stories growing up that international fútbol matches are insane. Fans cursing right-and-left, bottles and anything throwable flung at opposing fans or players, and just general madness. So I came prepared and got all dressed up to blend in with the Peruvians. I bought a jersey, scarf, and a cool-looking hat.
Maybe it was my lofty expectations but I felt the fans were tame for the most part. Most of the craziness happened right before the game started. Everyone tossed this obelisk-looking Coca Cola balloon towards the field. Outside of the balloon frenzy, there was some foul language being tossed around – especially when the fans did not agree with the refs performance. Hijueputa was my favorite.
Perú dominated the first half but did not score. The stadium did not seem loud and in my section no one harassed the Colombian fans. Like I said rather tame.
During the break, I wanted to get a beer but I soon found out there is no beer in the stadium. Turns out hardly any concessions either. They had this little cafeteria right next to the bathrooms that sold Inka Cola and some snacks. Super disappointing. Also, no instant reply on the jumbo screens for the fans. More disappointment.
So I went back to my seat to watch the second half only to see Colombia score the only goal of the game off of a botched defensive play.
Sadly, the team I rooted for did not win.
I learned today the reason they don’t have instant replay or alcohol is to prevent the fans from “hulking” into rabid mob. So I guess the craziness is there – it just needs a spark.
I am sure when Jenn and I go to Brazil for the World Cup we will get some real hooligan experiences.
Strength and Honor,