My first professional soccer game! It was a FIFA World Cup qualifier, South Africa versus Central African Republic. It was such an interesting experience, especially when comparing it to a game in the states. There was no loud music, no gimmicks or half time shows, no programs being sold or tons of paraphernalia, no loud announcer or jumbo tron, it was just ALL about the game. So different! And I loved every second. We had wonderful seats, and we were in a section that couldn’t sit down, too many close calls that brought everyone to their feet so eventually we all just stood. Everyone was dressed up in their jerseys, waving the South Africa flag. And when we scored. Oh man.
I imagine that because there isn’t a significant amount of scoring in soccer games, that when there is a goal, an absurdly long and raucous celebration is definitely in order. And the South Africans delivered. We were still celebrating the first goal a half hour later. The whole crowd was singing a song in Afrikaans, swaying, cheering, clapping, you name it.
I think my favorite parts were the “almost goals”. Everyone getting excited and then one big simultaneous groan from the crowd, as the player trips, or just barely misses, or the goalie makes a save. A grin still on everyone’s faces though, because damn, that was close.