Most sports fans would agree that cheering for your team is about more than just winning. It’s emotional, it’s riveting, it’s sometimes even a romance between the fan and the team. It’s a legacy often transcending generations; you root for your team because your dad did and your grandfather did and so, too, do you. Traditions and superstitions are involved. Whether you’re tailgating in the fall with old time college friends, flaunting your school colors and cheering on your alma mater, or lounging on the couch with a beverage in hand and hot wings and nachos on the menu, rooting for your team means something for all of us.
|Three time champions in 2009|
In this case, however, being a Barça fan really has nothing to do with strong emotions or traditions. I’m simply a fan because of geography and Barcelona makes it easy. It didn’t take long for us to realize back in 2008 that FCBarcelona was a force to be reckoned with. Their palpable popularity was staggering and they just so happened to be winning championship after championship. Barça had the golden touch and they were unstoppable. There were, and have been ever since, many late, late nights where we have been kept awake by the noise of vuvuzelas and exploding fireworks. Or, we ourselves have partaken in the celebrations out in the streets thinking, “If you can’t beat them, join them!” You’d think that all of this would serve as adequate preparation for a “fan in training” for the creme de la creme – to finally attend a match at Camp Nou stadium.
Something surprised me out of all of this though. Looking around, doing my best to contain my excitement and to keep my leg as straight as possible, I noticed that the crowd was quite calm. The fans were not the rowdy bunch I had expected but instead a dignified group of spectators who came to watch a game, and very intently at that. They cheered when Barça scored, scoffed when they were scored against, and cried out a unanimous sigh at every close call. Spirit for the home team and the passion for the game was visible, but Jenny and I both agreed that we’ll watch the next match from a bar stool with good friends.
|Jenny and me with our students, Maya and Leyre|