Fútbol…every other country’s national pastime except America’s. Also, let me be clear: we say “soccer”. When I think “football”, I’m thinking touchdowns and the Superbowl [I’m rooting for the Seahawks. Their defense is SICK]
Anyway…on Sunday and Monday, I had a lot of soccer experiences and I LOVED it. Back in the states, I play soccer for AU’s club team, so the player inside me was ecstatic about the amount of soccer occurring. On Sunday night, I saw my first international soccer game. Atlético de Madrid versus Sevilla. The whole experience was unreal. The following for this team was incredible: people were coming from every direction to walk towards the stadium, singing in unison, randomly hugging people and waving massive flags! I don’t think I had my mouth closed the entire time we walked to Estadio Vicente Caldéron. Then we got there and the place was HUGE. Like American football stadium status…plus a little more. The fan section was UNBELIEVABLE. I have never seen a fan section as on point as the section for Atléti [that’s their nickname]. They were across the stadium for us and vibrated the entire stadium with their chants and screams. Even the jumping was in unison! The match started off well for Atléti and led Sevilla 1-0 into the half. But the referee was just atrocious and did not reciprocate any of the calls, allowing Sevilla to score on an unearned penalty kick. The fans were yelling words I understood but wish I didn’t, they were that upset. The game ended with a draw of 1-1, despite Atléti’s dominance for most of the game. They had so many opportunities to score but waited one touch too long and then couldn’t get the shot off, which was quite the heartbreak. I was looking forward to a blowout haha
An interesting thing about Spanish soccer stadiums is that they serve alcohol-less beer. Yes, you read that correctly. It looks like beer, smells like it and costs just as much, but without the alcohol. Therefore, I draw two conclusions from this: 1) Spanish soccer fans are so rowdy that serving alcohol in the past has probably resulted in one too many deaths and 2) if you willingly pay for alcohol-less beer, you must have a serious love for beer. And maybe you should reconsider your life choices…. Regardless, it is an interesting cultural difference [and would send a large portion of Americans into an outrage]
And then on Monday, I had the experience of a lifetime. I entered my favorite La Liga team’s stadium: Real Madrid. And the best part was that it was FOR A CLASS. Yeah, this one class I’m taking trumps your favorite class every time. Estadio Santiago Bernabéu is very similar to the new NY Mets stadium, complete with museum and a self-guided tour, and it is state of the art. We first saw the field from way up high and then moved on to the museum. The museum is an interactive photo collage on one side where you can choose on touch screen platforms what you would like to look at and on the other side are the trophy cases. All the magic, blood, sweat and tears that Real Madrid has seen since 1902 was behind those glass plates and it was awesome. Their old uniforms were cool too! I could’ve stayed in there easily for 2-3 hours [it was also really warm in there which was a nice escape from the cold!] Then we travelled to the photo op station, where we could take Green Screen pictures with our favorite players. Which, OF COURSE, I did. I mean, let’s be real: Cristiano is my boyfriend. And we’re adorable together.
After that, we continued the tour to the locker room which smelled of men and cleats. The first smell is nice but from personal experience, the second is NOT. But again, the place is state of the art and comes with its very own Jacuzzi and pool. Obvi0usly. After we oogled over the boys’ lockers, we went through the tunnel. At this point, I may or may not have started crying. Having played soccer since I was 4 years old made me appreciate this moment so much more because this is where pre-game speeches happen, that drive to win, blood pumping and stomach jittery are all things I can relate to from my own experience but for the players of Real, these feelings are amplified. Finally, after coming through the tunnel, we were standing on the field. And…I took this snapchat –>
Once we left the field, we went through the opposing teams tunnel and the tour ended like all good tours do: in the gift shop. Which is 2 floors. It is undoubtable that I will come back and spend so much money there…and own a real Real Madrid jersey.
Another one of our field trips in my soccer obsession class will be to come back to Bernabéu to see a game. Who’s excited?! THIS GIRL! Stay tuned! xoxo