Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Bogotan Rivalry

Last week  (well actually last month... I've experienced technical difficulties.. Too many trips.)  I went to my first Professional Soccer (futbol) game in my life. Who can blame me? Vancouver is the first team on the west coast to have a professional team and they are only a few years old. So basically I have never really experienced what I have heard to be the most devoted fans in all of the sports world, all I knew was from T.V.  and of course what you see on the news and T.V is exaggerated and you really can't believe it. Or so I thought. The Futbol game I went to was strategically chosen because it was between the two teams that call Bogota their home, The Millionarios vs Santa Fe. A classic as they call it here. Even though soccer isn't one of my favorite sports I had to see a game as Colombia is about to qualify for the world cup and as they say, When in Colombia, do as the Colombians.
Juggarnauts on deck. 

As we walked up to the stadium it was quite evident that this was a Millionarios home game as everyone was wearing Royal Blue and all the street vendors had their millionarios gear on deck. I heard later on that they only allow 1 section of tickets to be sold to the visiting team to help combat the combats. I decided to go with a neutral one and black outfit and I have heard about the Red vs. Blue color wars in California and I didn't Want to get caught on the wrong side. Better to play it safe in these types of situations. Once we get passed the initial Security check which doesn't allow belts, watches, umbrellas or ciggarettes passed, we stopped in our tracks to see about 20 police in full on riot gear just roaming around the stadium, That's when I realized how real it gets out here. After meeting up with some friends we headed to our seats about 2 minutes after the game has started. Surprisingly everyone was still standing and chanting something I couldn't understand. Finding our seats was a whole different issue. In Colombian fashion, the rules are ignored and our assigned seats held no weight, It was a free-for-all get whatever seat is open type deal. I ended up being alone about 7 rows up, right in the corner between a Uber- horny couple (I thought it was the Colombain valetines day, turns out it was only a preview) and a Family of about 5 with 2 little girls. My first experience of a corner kick of the other team proved to be interesting.. as he was setting up I learned all the Colombians who could not bring their watches and belts in, managed to smuggle in a whole grocery store worth of toilet paper rolls which they threw on the field as well as an Air Canada fleets worth of paper airplanes that were used to try and distract, or poke an eye out on the field.  The thing that was even weirder was that when the double length, Single ply toilet paper unraveled on the field, they just left it there for the rest of the half. 20 minutes into the game I realized that sitting during was not going to be an option and I accepted my fate standing for the entire 90 minutes, Plus injury time because we all know soccer players love to fake, or exaggerate their injuries. Although I do think its part of the Colombian culture because I see the same things happenening on the basketball court, but that's another subject.
Is that a belt I feel Kid??? 

The environment in the stadium was exactly what I had expected to see from T.V. They had a few sections of the Die-hard fans which were singing whole songs throughout the game with a Band and all. I don't know where they get all this energy from but I must say I felt a bit of jealous of the players as I wished their was a basketball environment possible of matching this party in the stands. They make NCAA college basketball fans look like they are Surrounding a tee waiting for Phil Mickelson to putt. Since it was such a family environment it really shocked me to hear what these parents beside me and everyone else was yelling. I think the most common word I heard all night was "puta," and they were yelling it at their own players as well.

"PUTA".... definitely not a childrens environment. 
As you noticed I didn't mention anything about the actual game or players as the game itself was really boring as it ended in a tie 0-0. After 90+ minutes of standing I was ready to get out of their and get a good meal in, only to see everyone sitting once the game ended... did I miss something? maybe there is an Overtime or penalty kicks. Nope, turns out they only let the one section with the Santa fe fans out and the rest of the stadium has to wait for half an hour. That's about 1 tenth of the stadium that was given a head start to get away from the rabbid fans supporting The Millionarios. It was crazy to see the exits that were close to us blocked by about 15 police with dogs. I wonder how many police they have to staff each game just to keep a Riot from happening. I immediately felt embarrassed when I remembered I showed the Vancouver riots to my classmates during a presentation. This is completely normal for them, meanwhile in Colombia they take it in stride.

When they Finally let us out it was now a battle of who is getting on the Transmillenio first. And I thought It was bad before just go back to my last post about the transmillenio and imagine 5.6 times worse. I'm just happy I got home in one piece.. Until next time my peoples. The journey continues. 

Jah Bless
Jah Guide
Jah Rule

Ps. Its really no joke out here. In the passed month after watching that game 3 fans were killed in Bogota for wearing the wrong jersey and 5 died during the celebrations after Colombia qualified for the World Cup. R.I.P 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you are having an amazing time Akeem. I look forward to further reports