Friday, October 31, 2008

Futebol and the mayor

The other night I went to a big soccer match between a team from Salvador (Vitoria) and a team from Rio (Flamengo). The stadium was sold out, which is kind of unusual, and it was fun to be there and see all the craziness. A couple of exciting things happened...

First of all there was a problem with the lights. When we arrived, the lights that light up one half of the stadium were out. They came back on, the game started, only to have the other half of the stadium lights go out, delaying the game by about 20 minutes. There was also a problem with crowd control/flow. There is an area that is usually open to pass through, which allows people to move from one side of the stadium to the other. This is also where the entrance to the VIP section is. Well, they had this section gated off, to prevent the Flamengo fans from mixing with the Vitoria fans, in an attempt to avoid fights. The problem with this was that they were not allowing the folks with VIP seats to pass by this gate to get to their seats. This is where I was sitting, so I stood back and watched as an almost mini-riot broke out with folks pushing and shoving to try to get through the gate. Finally they opened the gate and we were able to get to our seats. Riot averted.

The game itself was really exciting and fun to watch. It ended in a tie, which I thought was a good thing since everyone said that Flamengo was a better team and was going to kick Vitoria's ass. Since Vitoria held their own (I was cheering for Vitoria), I thought that was a sign of a good game.

The newly elected mayor of Salvador was there, as he is a fan of Vitoria. At one point in the evening he was surrounded by a bunch of folks wanting to talk with him and tell him congratulations. It was during this mayhem that someone took the opportunity to steal his wallet! He didn't notice until later on when he went to reach for his wallet and it wasn't there.

It was all over the news the next day and I heard a lot of people on the street and on the bus talking about the robbery. It made for a lot of jokes from people who hate Vitoria (saying that the stadium is horrible and unsafe) and those who hate the new mayor (saying that he deserved it). As for me, well I'm just glad I didn't have a mob of people around me. It was hard enough staying out of the mini-riot and I spent a good part of the match worried about people throwing cups of urine, as I have heard happens at some games. Luckily, I made it through the game dry and with my wallet and cell phone intact.

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