Travel Regrets: Absolved #1

travel regrets

*All photos were taken by Shaun on our amazing Flip.*

We try to travel with no regrets but I have a regret. We spent 3 months in Mexico and I never made it to a futbol game. I watched almost every one of Mexico’s games on TV, showing my support, with all the other distractions (especially in Mexico City) it just didn’t happen. This was a mistake that I refused to make twice. Enter my travel regrets…

The moment I heard there was a Super Chivos game in Xela, I started making plans with friends to attend. I also studied up on my Spanish so I could follow the action better. From the research I did, I found that the game is called a “partido”; the players are “jugadores”; and the goalies are “guardametas”.

On the day of the game my plans started falling through. I was the only person who showed up to our designated meeting spot but I was determined to go to the game. So off I went, alone.

After buying my ticket and a bright red Super Chivos jersey, I headed into the stadium. To get to the stands I had to walk through the dirt expanse under the concrete seating. Just as the streets surrounding the arena were teeming with carts and vendors; so was this damp, unlit space. I weaved my way through the smoke-filled aisles and found a seat behind the goal.

travel regrets

As game time neared, the crowd was visibly more excited. Giant flags were being waved, chants were screamed, and fireworks exploded all over the stadium. It was hard to see the players run onto the field through the thick smoke that filled the stands, but my suspicions were confirmed by the roaring cheers that erupted and echoed in the stands.

Super Chivos game, Xela-ju

Only minutes into the game, I realized that my Spanish homework was completely useless. The players were not “jugadores”, they were “putas”. The goalie for the opposing team wasn’t a “guardameta”; he was a “burro”. Additionally, the referees were apparently the sons of the players (even though they looked quite a bit older) as they were referred to as “hijo de putas”. This explains why some of the calls they made were terrible, but we should really cut them some slack. After all, they’re only children.

Cheering Xela-ju in Guatemala

Even though the Super Chivos are known for being a fairly awful team, the game was quite exciting and had us on the edges of our seats many times. After every goal we scored, we were showered with newspaper confetti while standing and cheering for several minutes. Towards the end of the game it even looked as though we were going to win, however, a goal scored in the final minutes ended the game in a tie. Expecting the fans to become furious, I began strategizing my riot escape plans. Only, there was no riot. There was no fury. In fact, the collective attitude seemed to be “Well, at least we didn’t lose.”

And, to be honest, that was quite a miracle. Especially considering that we had to deal with a donkey-man blocking so many of our goal attempts and yellow cards being pulled by adolescents.

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You know who else is crazy about futbol? Italy! If you are looking for a posh place to hang out while watching futbol, you can always look into Tuscany Villas.
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30 Responses to “Travel Regrets: Absolved #1”

  1. Sheryll August 5, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    What an awesome experience! I’ve always wanted to go watch a futbol game in another country.

    • Shaun August 7, 2011 at 11:55 am #

      @ Sheryll – I loved it. I’m making it a goal (pun intended) to make it to a game in each country. :D

  2. Emily in Chile August 5, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    I think it’s funny how much words change among Latin American countries. In Chile the goalie is the “arquero” or “portero” – I’ve never heard “guardametas,” and I play soccer! The alternate names you discovered at the game itself for the players and ref sound about right though (although again, you won’t find anyone being called a “burro” in Chile).

    • Shaun August 7, 2011 at 11:56 am #

      @ Emily – Heh, thats good to know. I can’t wait to see some games in South America too!!

  3. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista August 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    No more regrets, right? Events like this game are so much a part of the culture it is a shame to miss them. Sounds like it was fun and I’m sure you’re glad you went!

    • Shaun August 7, 2011 at 11:57 am #

      @ Debbie – Indeed! Definitely a mistake we won’t make again!

  4. Randy Bullis August 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    Oh man mi hijo, I laughed my a** off reading this. “hijo de puta” is such a common Cuban epithet. I have got to quit reading these things during meetings.

    • Shaun August 7, 2011 at 11:58 am #

      @ Pops – HAHAHA! I was hoping that you were going to enjoy this one. <3

  5. Kent @ No Vacation Required August 6, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    This looks like a blast! When we lived in Ecuador, we would watch soccer from the rooftop of our apartment building.

    • Shaun August 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

      @ Kent – Actually, I saw a few people doing that in the taller buildings near the stadium. That’s an awesome bonus from living nearby. :)

  6. Pamela M. August 7, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    I have always loved Mexican soccer games, even though I’ve only been to a couple, it’s so much fun and the game can be very complex. My team are the Guadalajara Chivas :) (similar name to Chivos, jaja). Although, Portero is the usual name for the goalie, I believe. Guardametas is new to me.

    • Shaun August 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

      @ Pam – I’m still really sad that we didn’t go to any games in Mexico but this definitely goes up there on my list of favorite activities, right next to Lucha Libre.

  7. Tijmen August 7, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    Sounds like an really exciting experience. Would love to attend a soccer game in that part of the world as well :)

    • Shaun August 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

      @ Tijmen – It absolutely was! I highly recommend it! ^^

  8. Camels & Chocolate August 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    The sad thing is that I played soccer for 14 years–even went to college to play (but wound up playing NCAA tennis instead!) and played in the Olympic training program league at one point–and I have still never been to a professional match! Yet my husband who doesn’t even know what off-sides means went to several Holland games when we lived in the Netherlands–and never invited me along! Harumph.

    • Shaun August 9, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      @ C&C – Wow, yeah… you totally need to go to a pro (or semi-pro) game. It is fantastic!

  9. dtravelsround August 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    This was on my list, only I never got to go to on last year. Guess that means I have to go back out on the road and hit up a game!!! Shucks.

    • Shaun August 9, 2011 at 10:32 am #

      @ D – Yup, that’s how I feel about seeing Mexico play too. :D

  10. Raymond @ Man On The Lam August 9, 2011 at 1:34 am #

    Looks like a hoot!

    • Shaun August 9, 2011 at 10:33 am #

      @ Raymond – Hopefully this post captured some of the excitement and fun I had, cuz it was badass. :)

  11. Federico August 9, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Hey , was it cold? People seem to be all dressed up!

    • Shaun August 9, 2011 at 10:34 am #

      @ Federico – Yeah, Xela can get pretty chilly at night. But don’t worry, every fan had their very own Super Chivos jacket to wear over their Super Chivos shirts/jerseys. ;)

  12. Ayngelina August 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    You absolutely must go in South America, it is freaking insane but they do sell super cheap beer.

    • Shaun August 9, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

      @ Ayngelina – Oh, that sounds amazing. I can’t wait for South America! :D

  13. Abby August 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    Oh, Shaun, you’re so awesome. So cool you went alone!!!

    • Shaun August 11, 2011 at 10:37 am #

      @ Abby – Haha, thanks! :P You should come visit us in Costa Rica and we’ll go to a game there too! <3

  14. Stephanie - The Travel Chica August 13, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    What a crazy experience. And good for your Spanish too ;-)

    • Shaun August 13, 2011 at 11:48 am #

      @ Stephanie – Oh, yeah! I can’t wait to go to another game! :D

  15. Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_ August 15, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    Ahhh so exciting! I remember going to my first game (and actually watching my first game on TV as well while I was traveling). I would totally go again!

    • Shaun August 17, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

      @ Lindsay – Definitely a night I won’t soon forget. :D

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