Here I am at a Footy "futbol" match in Madrid. Thought I would try and get a real glimpse into the Spanish culture and score some seats to a bona fide game. Only problem? I don't know anything about the game. Something about kicking a ball into a goal, yah I got that part. But the rest? Maybe it's because I saw the game in Spain and from the mumblings of my American compadres, apparently they do things a little differently.
First of all, it wasn't Real Madrid. They played the week before, while I was speaking overly-emphasized English to the Spaniards in the middle of Spain somewhere. No, unfortunately this wasn't THE team...and the only reason it is really unfortunate is because David Beckham is the only thing I can associate to the word "soccer" or "football." Oh and I think there is some player name Pepe but he might be in Brazil. Or maybe I'm thinking of an episode of The Simpsons. Anyhoo, no matter.
Back to the game. This was Atletico de Madrid, the OTHER Madrid team (and apparently, not the "real" one). Now, if I can get my game loyalties right, if you are a fan of Barcelona (who heads to play against Arsenal, the English team with a Spanish sounding name, in the EU Final next week in Paris) you are also a fan of Atletico. And from a few loyal Spaniards, Atletico is supposed to be pretty darn good. The key word here is "supposed" to be.
Cuz they weren't when I was there. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed myself. I was high up in the nosebleeds but the view was still awesome, and even though the sun was roasting us at 7 pm still, I think I got away with a sunny tan. But the game? By the time the 1st half was over and the score was 0-0 (they were playing against Mallorca) I was DYING for something to happen. Initially I was cheering for Madrid, along with the rest of the stadium. But after the hour had past I was eager for someone, ANYONE to score. Finally, in the middle of the second half, Mallorca scored. I cheered...internally...and prepared for the wrath of angry Madrid...ites.
But the surprising thing was, I think they were almost relieved that finally something exciting happened. Sure, a few people stood up and yelled "Puta Cona!" and other obscenities that I gleefully recognized, but that was standard practice. "Puta Cona!" wasn't good enough. I could hear that while standing in line at the supermarket. No, what I was expecting was a full-blown riot. I wanted beer cans thrown, old women hucked off of the stands, young children trampled, a mass exodus onto the field followed by a chase after the players. Yet none of that happened. Everyone just watched the rest of the game as if everything was fine. I was heartbroken. It wasn't supposed to happen this way.
To be fair we did leave the game 5 minutes early to avoid the sardine-like atmosphere of the metro back to the city centre. I like to think that all hell broke loose during that time.
AFTERTHOUGHT: in keeping with this football theme, I eagerly await for Saturday evening/Sunday night, when I will publish my next entry, roughly entitled "The Scottish FA Cup and My Adventures Drinking at 7 AM"