Sunday, May 25, 2008

Jogo de futebol (Soccer game)

Last night I went to my first ever Brazilian soccer game. I have been wanting to go to a game, but was always kind of nervous about it after reading in various travel resources that people get super crazy and even go so far as to pee in cups and then throw the urine into the crowds. Not wanting to get sprayed with pee, I have avoided this initiation rite towards becoming a "real Brazilian".

One of my students, Pissica, invited me to go with him to this game. It was Vitoria, which is one of the teams from Bahia, against Figueirense, a team from Santa Catarina. I figured that since he was bringing his 7 year old son, that it was probably relatively safe for me to go. So after battling the crowds at the "Marcha para Jesus" (March for Jesus) that closed down the bus system that goes to Pissica´s house, I finally made it to his house and then we were off to the stadium.

Pissica has some kind of season pass for everyone in his family which includes VIP parking right by the entrance to the stadium and a seat at the mid-field line that actually had chairs (the rest of the stadium has cement benches with no back rests), so we went in style and security. I wanted to bring my camera to take some pics, but Vilma advised against it. Turns out it totally would have been fine to bring it. Oh well, next time!

Anyway, I enjoyed the game a lot (!) and went back and forth between watching the game and watching the crowd. There was a large section of crowd that had an informal drumming group who kind of led the group cheers. There were various chants, together with hand motions that the crowd did throughout the game to motivate both the team and the crowd. It also seemed to be common practice to bring a small hand-held radio to listen to the commentators´ broadcast. Most of the older men in the crowd had one of these radios.

All in all it was an enjoyable evening and Vitoria won, 4-0. I was invited to go to a wedding afterwards, but passed due to the fact that I was not really dressed for the occasion and also because I wanted to get back home and hang out with Vilma.

The 2 teams in Bahia (Vitoria and Bahia) have a HUGE rivalry. You are either for Vitoria or Bahia, and once you support a team, it is like you are a part of a family feud against the other team. I heard parts of chants last night "Eu sou Vitoria" (I am Vitoria), "Vitoria minha vida" (Vitoria, my life), and "Vitoria meu amor" (Vitoria my love) that demostrated the ferver with which people believe in and support their team. You might ask if I am now Vitoria. Well, given that the majority of my students seem to be Vitoria, and I went to my first game in Vitoria´s stadium, I guess my leanings are more towards this team than the other. But who knows, maybe I will have the chance to go to a Bahia game and my allegiance will change! All I know is that for someone who doesn´t really like or follow any sports in the US, I sure do love me some Brazilian futebol!

Image taken from

1 comment:

A.L.R. said...

Well hello Pedra. Thanks for stopping by. I too am enjoying reading your posts! Maybe when I finally get my damn internet up (it�s been a two month process) I can have a real go of it.

You should come chill in Villa Matos sometime. It�s authentic hood without the violen�ia. Not a bad place for a couple rounds and some chit chat.

Give me a ring sometime.


As I�m sure you know by know, we gringoes gotta stick together. ;-P