OPINION: Taking a leaf out of the European sports book
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 02:03
While living in Mexico for two years, walking around in a shirt and tie for no apparent reason, I would often pass the giant soccer stadiums and hope my time would come to enter in. As much as I loved the home advantage for American sporting events, I had always been told that nothing could compare to a real, drunk, futbol experience.
So for spring break, I decided to head back and get my fill. They love us college students down there so much, they even gave us a name: los springbreakers. Go figure.
In all honesty, I probably didn’t get the best game. Chiapas at Cruz Azul would be like us hosting Southern Utah in the Spectrum. Plus the “Cements” aren’t exactly my favorite, being named after the Cruz Azul cement company. The giant blow-up cement bags they had for advertising didn’t have the typical U.S. billboard flair.
But though the stadium was fairly empty, I still got my experience. It started as lines of police searched us before going in and wanted us to leave our belts, clearly a weapon, behind. Luckily we snuck them in, just in case of an eruption. We handed our tickets to a guide, who took us down the steepest steps this side of heaven until reaching our fifth row seats. What I witnessed gave me further inspiration for Aggie sporting events.
Consider the following:
1) The constant drum beat and songs. Those bass drummers are about as fit as the team, because they barely took a halftime break. I asked my new intoxicated friend next to me to teach me the words, and they had very little do with anything. But I do think we could throw some of those big boys into Romney Stadium.
2) On the far end, there was a visitors section with about ten brave souls in it. They were surrounded, however, by about 40 cops in full armor with shields. Visitors should have to fear us like that. They also had three cops assigned for each corner kick to protect the kicker. Had a few cups of beer thrown lately?
3) The cheerleaders were kicked off the field and thrown onto some obscure, empty bleacher seats, not obstructing my game line-of-sight.
4) The crazy fan section by the drums had flags, banners and other interesting objects, with members of all ages jumping and yelling all game. And when that goal went in, the only fans still sitting were Americans still learning the game.
The two teams ended up tying 1-1, and the Cements left the field to a chorus of boos instead of “winning team losing team.” I stilled enjoyed myself throughout, however, and will look forward to enjoying another game down there. Or just the football home opener next year.
– Mark is an obsessive Aggie fan who moonlights as an almost unbiased Statesman writer. He is majoring in business administration and preparing for medical school. Comment at email@example.com or his blog, www.spectrumagic.blogspot.com.