In honor of Children's Day here in Big City, the most popular of the 4 city teams played in the world-famous Maracana stadium and children could attend for free. The soccer games here can get a little rowdy, to say the least, so our Brazilian friends told us this would be a pretty tame game to go to since a) it was the Children's Day game, and b) the game meant nothing-they were playing a team from another state that wasn't very good.
First, the stadium is HUGE. It officially can hold 95,000 people, but when it sells out, they just open the gates and let everyone in. I read at one game, they crammed 195,000 people in!
Second, imagine a important televised sporting event in the States; and now think of the few crazy guys they zoom in on with their chests painted and their foam fingers and then multiply that guy by 95,000 (or more) people.
CRAZY STUFF. And we're not talking about a world cup game. This was a game that meant noth-ing.
Here's the outside of the stadium:
Some big flags. and some flares (flares + flags = fire hazard):
A really big flag:
A smoke bomb of some sort?:
People filling the aisles (for the entire game) (another fire hazard):
Near the end of the game, there were roman candles being lit in the stands (big fire hazard).
Another interesting aspect of the game was the inter-fan relations. The first several rows of people insisted on standing up, which then forced the next rows to stand up as well, so the fans back by us were completely preoccupied with getting these people in the front to sit down. I'm not sure why, because, personally, I could see just fine. (My theory is, is that soccer really is kind of boring, and therefore the fans have to find other ways to amuse themselves.)
It started just with profanity. If I didn't know Portuguese cuss words before last night, I certainly do now. I also learned some choice new body gestures.
It progressed from profanity into profanity + light-weight trash- balled up napkins and paper and such being thrown at the standing offender. Next it escalated to profanity + mostly empty plastic cups. Near the end of the game it was (you guessed it) profanity + hot dogs.
I have to say I was pretty impressed, I'm thinking in the States getting called some variation of the F-bomb in conjunction with a flying hot dog would probably lead to a fatality. No one seemed to get overly excited by it-the normal reaction of the standing offender was just his (or her) own string of profanity and lewd body gestures.
And all this at the special Children's Day game-isn't that nice? My personal favorite was the guy behind me who would stand up with his little two year old boy in his arms and scream until his face was almost purple. Awesome!!!
It was a very interesting (and educational) night.
I'm always amazed at how lively Brazilians are in whatever they do.