Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Boca Juniors vs. Deportivo Cuenca
This is a few days behind, but I was gone over the weekend and had no access to the Internet. So, even though we've now had a few more interesting things happen, I'm going to start back in time and work up to present day. With that being said, here's the scoop on what happened with the highly anticipated Boca Juniors game.
On Thursday afternoon the city was abuzz with people heading down to the stadium to see the Argentinian club team play in Cuenca. It was expected that it would be a pretty tough game and that Boca would win easily, since they're one of the best teams in South America. I met up with a couple of people before going to the stadium but had to wait around outside before going in to give a ticket to my friend. Once inside, they texted me that it was going to be very hard to find seats in the Cuenca general section because it was already packed.
When my friend Lauren got in I told her that I was a little nervous going into the Cuenca section because I had a Boca Juniors jersey on. I was told I'd get beat up for wearing it in the general section. Even though I saw a good amount of people wearing the Cuenca shirts, I kept my jacket zippered up to avoid showing it. I stick out enough as it is. We went in and saw that there was plenty of room in the section cordoned off for the Boca fans. The section was protected by a line of police in riot gear, and when they saw my jersey under the jersey underneath my jacket, they let us right in.
With an hour and a half before game time it was already packed and getting rowdy. Surprisingly enough, there were a lot of Boca fans there, and soon the section was totally packed. A lot of people are simply Boca fans because they are a good team, the same way people jump on the bandwagon with the Yankees, or in recent years, the Red Sox. But there were also a lot of Argentinians there too.
Before the game started our friend Jamie somehow found us, and we all got on our feet for the kick off. We quickly learned the Boca chant, which was very easy but continued steadily for the entire game. The girls had no plans of sitting in the Boca section, but they warmed up to it soon enough. The first half was uneventful, but exciting nonetheless because of the crowd. I've come to realize that soccer is made so much better by being there with the crowd and drinking beer. It's really enjoyable with those two things.
At half time I tried to get more beer but the cops wouldn't let me leave the section, saying they'd kill me with my jersey on. Instead we'd have to wait for a vendor to come around, even though they were quite infrequent. Eventually the girls were able to find some beers because they had no jerseys.
The game went on calmly enough until with about 15 minutes left Cuenca scored. The place erupted and fireworks and road flares were lit in the crowd. The Boca section remained quiet, even though some Cuenca fans in the middle cheered. Surprisingly, the fans didn't boo or get down, but rather immediately started in with a cheer to motivate the team. I don't know if I've ever seen that in another sporting event.
And as it turned out, Cuenca won the game 1-0, leaving the Cuenca fans ecstatic and screaming with joy. We had to wait while the entire stadium emptied out before we were let out of our section, and I was told that people would harass us when we left, but had no trouble with my jacket on again. Beating one of the best teams in the continent is a big deal no matter what, but especially for a team that's not very good and facing elimination from the tournament. So the entire city was out at night celebrating the victory, and urine could be smelled all over the streets.
So for the first Boca game I attended, the team lost, but it was still a fun night that I'd like to have repeated again. Soccer's not that bad, after all.
Above: Road flares lit in the crowd, Boca fans cheer, fans climb the fence for a better view, video of the crowd