If you ever have a chance to go to a soccer game in Spain or in any country where soccer is big, GO! It is an experience that you won’t soon forget.
I have always had a passion for soccer, but while living in Spain my love for fútbol became so much more pronounced. I watched every FC Barcelona game, usually at a bar with friends. That year I knew the statistics of my favorite teams and I kept up with my favorite players stats too. The team of my “hometown” in Spain is Real Oviedo; their rival being Sporting Gijón B. Luckily this rival game was in Oviedo this year and of course, this was the game I decided I had to go to.
I went with a group of Spanish guys and a couple of Americans. The day of the game was St. Patty’s Day, yet no one was dressed in green, only royal blue to support Real Oviedo. I met up with my friends, Hectór and Iván, to walk to the stadium. As we walked we placed bets on who would win and what the score would be. My guess was that Oviedo would win 2-1. Soon we met up with some others, and of course did as the Spanish do… began having some drinks on the way to the game.
On the walk to the stadium, there were vendors selling Real Oviedo gear. There were so many people headed into the stadium with little organization in place. After descending the stairs to access the entrance, Hectór picked up our tickets, and we headed into the stadium. It was bigger than I had imagined, considering Oviedo is a small city. The stadium wasn’t quite full, but there was a good crowd since this was their rival game. We took our seats, and as the game began, there were so many things to look at! From the people standing on their seats shouting obscenities, to the hooligans waving their banners, and to the game itself, the whole stadium made up the spectacle.
During the game the fans were consistently shouting at the ref, “hijo de puta.” Oviedo’s first goal came quick off a PK within the first ten minutes. During half time something happened in the “hooligan” section that warranted security in riot gear to rush towards the section from all directions. I will never know what happened, but we did see hooligans fleeing. This game very unexpected to me, but it was an interesting experience to say the least.
Having the lead for the majority of the game Oviedo became confident until Gijón scored with just about 15 minutes left. The game was close and becoming increasingly violent. Before the end of the game Real Oviedo managed to score one more to win the match. The final score being 2-1 Real Oviedo. Later that evening I got called a “bruja” (witch) for predicting the score.
Overall, the Spanish are so passionate about fútbol. You can see it in people of all ages, and it is something I miss very much. The soccer culture in the United States just isn’t as large. I don’t think there is that amount of passion in any one sport in the United States as there is for soccer in Spain.