Futbol!

Spring seems to have finally arrived! It is going to be 75 today and I am writing this out on the balcony of my apartment. The locals haven’t entirely caught on that it is warm yet; there have been lots of jackets and scarves around the city. Now is my time to shine sticking out like a sore thumb of Americana.

Week 6 is now officially done and I am a third of the way through my classes! We are getting two new members to our group this weekend, so we will start doing more touristy things on a more regular basis. I will be in Uruguay in two weeks (although it doesn’t seem that Argentinians are very strict with calendars, so we will see).

This past Sunday I finally saw a professional futbol (soccer) game at River Platte Stadium in my neighborhood of Belgrano. The team is called River Plate (in English) which is odd because they still call the river here Rio de la Plata. I have no idea why.

 The stadium was really nice and the house was packed. There was more security there than when I had gone to other NFL or MLB games in the US, and we got borderline TSA levels of pat-downs. Also, they weren’t going to let me in because my camera had batteries. I was really confused and thankfully the unintentional clueless foreigner schtick made security just let me through. Someone later told me that people throw the batteries at the field.
We were in the cheap seats, but still had a decent view of the field. When we took our seats, we figured out we were in the visitor sections by a major context clue. See picture below.
That is not just a fence, but a fence with barbed and razor wire between us and the rest of the stands. Soccer games are famously rowdy in Latin America, and to supersede any problems the stadium just decided to not allow the away team to sell any tickets and just sold them to River fans. The game was fun, and I learned a lot of new fun words that I can’t repeat on this blog, as well as some fight songs. The intensity of the fans was awesome, but I would put it on par with any decent NFL game that I have been to. The difference I would say is that they keep it at a more consistent intensity throughout the game whereas in American Football the fans go absolutely crazy during big plays and then quiet down to let their offense work. Here everyone sings for most of the game.
We all froze and River lost 2-1, but we made up for it by getting delicious Choripan sandwiches after the game.
I am still undecided whether to be a River Plate fan or a Boca Jr. fan (the other major club in Buenos Aires). I’m leaning River, but we will see how I feel after I have seen Boca Jr.’s stadium. It seems like the dynamic between the two teams is kind of like a cubs/white sox dynamic between the two teams. With River being the richer team and Boca Jr. being the one supported by a lot of working class and poorer people.
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading!
Scott
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