*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.
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.
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.
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.
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.