February 28th, 2015
Guess who went to a professional soccer game on her last night in Buenos Aires?!
I was so excited to get a ticket! The home team, San Lorenzo, is one of the top five teams in the league. Their colors are red and blue stripes, so my airbnb host let me borrow his Barcelona jersey (where Messi currently plays). I love dressing the part and needless to say, I fit right in!
Buenos Aires has more professional teams than any other city in the world and they take their soccer very, very seriously. In the past there was so much violence between the fans of opposing teams that four years ago the president of Argentina restricted attendance to only fans of the home team. Therefore, it’s almost impossible to purchase tickets to a game if you aren’t already a “member” of the home team because they don’t want fans from the opposing team to “sneak” into the stadium using tickets they purchased off the streets.
Harry’s cousin Ellen, her husband Amin and I ended up buying tickets through a tour company. Although we paid a lot for our tickets, the benefits were well worth it. Our guide was fun and energetic, and he told us all about the politics of soccer in Argentina. It’s pretty mind blowing to learn how the hooligans — the actual name of the obsessed, crazy and, at times, violent fans — control a lot of things around the city (think of the mob). The tour provided transportation to and from the stadium so we didn’t need to deal with public transportation and the other 30,000 rowdy attendees. Additionally, we felt safe and it was nice having someone else deal with all the logistics for a change.
The stadium was rocking and the hooligans sang/chanted for the entire match. Unfortunately San Lorenzo lost to San Martin (a lower ranked team) 1-2. We felt pretty lucky when our guide whisked us out of the crowded stadium into the safety of our van.
What a rush! I will never forget this experience!