Monday, March 17, 2014

Fútbol Game Etiquette

So last night was my first experience going to a major league fútbol (soccer) here in México. I went to see Cruz Azul play against the Portland Timberwolves while Erika was still in my tummy, about 12 years ago. Then again in March 2012, José and I drove down to San Francisco to see México play against Paraguay. That was my first experience with flying objects. Latinos are very passionate about their fútbol, it flows in their blood. Even the city kids grow up playing fútbol on any square of dirt that can be found. At the game in California, they were throwing empty soda cups and rolls of toilet paper but it is still nervewracking as hell for flying objects to come flying down from the upper bleachers. I was really worried about what was going to happen at a game right in Mexico. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the only things that were hurtled around were obscenities. Erika and Mia are still learning Spanish and I have taught them a lot of the curse words because I don't want them to make a mistake and use any in mixed company, etc. When the goalie for the opposing team kicks the ball out of his zone, the whole stadium shouts out in unison, "PUTO." This is a slang curse word for whore or slut, a derivative of prostituto or prostitute. This lasted the whole game without fail. José can't explain why they do it, just that it is done at every stadium and every game across Mexico. Funny how you miss out on these quaint little details while watching on your big flatscreen TV. The lady sitting in the row directly behind me also expanded my profanity vocabulary by using a combination of choice words that I hadn't heard put together in quite that way before. It is my belief that profanity does not have the same shock value in Mexico as children grow up hearing it from birth. I like to think that I walk the middle road as often as possible. I've never been comfortable with the F word. With a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, there are so many other words out there to choose from and the F word is completely overused in today's society. Erika and Mia have decided to use the word "cacahuate" when they are mad or frustrated at someone because they like the way the word rolls off their tongue. It means peanut, literally.

The next part of my education about Mexican fútbol surrounds the stadium and its systems. First off, the average worker in Mexico makes in the ballpark of 100 pesos a day ($8) depending on what part of the country they live in. For our sake, let's translate that out to $100/day. are you going to spend two days salary to attend a fútbol game? Trying to get tickets for this game was probably the biggest joke of the century. Ticket sales don't open until 7-10 days before the game, usually on a Monday. Since we live 3 hours from the stadium, we sent money to his sister to go pick up the tickets for us. On Ticketmaster, they charge you an additional 39$ pesos for every ticket so that adds us quickly when you're buying 6 tickets. It already costs about 180$ pesos for each ticket which is just about two days wages. Maria goes down to the stadium to find out that there is no ticket booth anymore for the Cruz Azul games. Everything is being sold through Ticketmaster. So someone high up in the organization has some kind of personal interest in Ticketmaster and is fattening their pockets at the cost of the common people. So she had to go to the local supermarket and find a Ticketmaster booth so that we could pay an additional 234$ pesos for our tickets, more than two days wages for a service that is not needed. The ticket agent told her that we were getting great seats down below so we told ourselves that the extra money was worth it.

When we arrived, we were lucky enough to find parking in the street just outside the stadium for only 100$ pesos, another day's wages. The streets leading up to the stadium were lined with police in full riot gear. I don't think I have ever seen so many law enforcement officials in one area before in my life. There were another dozen officers located at each entrance. Inside the stadium, we find out that we actually bought tickets for the nosebleed section...
We hadn't bought a ticket for our BIL Victor who drove us out there so we sent him to buy one off a street vendor and he paid 200$ as opposed to our 219$ and he got a seat down on the VERY BOTTOM where he could see everything. There are no concession stands inside the stadium either. You take your seat and there is a Coke and beer vendor within an arm's throw from any seat. 70$ pesos for two bottles of beer poured into a Coke cup or 25$ for a can of Coke. I noticed that the beer hawkers were pouring one Tecate and one Tecate Light into the cups that they were taking around to sell. Jose thinks they did this because very few people drink the light and the distributor needs to get rid of it. I thought they did this maybe to lower the blood alcohol content in the spectators. If someone came up to order a beer personally, they used two of the regular Tecate beers. The rows are literally back to back and there is no room to walk down the row except for this 3 inch wide lip so you're depending on excellent balance or the kindness of strangers to hold your hand as you maneuver into place.
Food vendors literally come to you, over and over again offering a range of snacks from potato chips (30$) to paletas/popsicles (20$) to hot dogs (45$). We settled for two Cokes and Chicken Cup of Soups (25$) for the girls. I could see the cotton candy vendor working his way through the lower sections but he never made it up to the nosebleed section.

There is an official section for the team fans called the "porra". They bring their drums and noisemakers and balloons and what have you not and they sit at the far end of the stadium. The entire walkway from top to bottom and along the sides is lined with police in riot gear. These fans are the ones known to get out of control and wreak havor depending on how the game goes or how the arbitro is calling the game. Several of them took off their shirts to wave around when they weren't hopping up and down chanting something. I would like to think that we are fans but not to that extent. While we were heading into the stadium, we did indulge the kids and get them lots of fan gear like a cushion seat for 10$, new playeras (jerseys) for $150, rabbit ears for 10$ since that is the team mascot, and tattoos on their cheek for 5$ and a small flag to wave around for 10$. Cruz Azul won 2-1 against the Tijuana Xolos so we went home a happy family.

We'll be going back on Wednesday to see them play against Kansas City. Rumor is that it's all general seating for 50$ so we'll see how that goes!


  1. I'm still sad about the ending of this game.

  2. I love your blog, and being a scrapbooker myself I really love all the photos..

  3. Thanks Yvonne! I love scrapbooking so I'm still trying to find the balance between blog and Project Life but it's coming along. How did you find us?



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