We all hear about how in love Brazilians are with soccer - futebol - football but it wasn't until I lived here that I realized that the depth of that love is difficult to overstate.
I grew up in the football (americana) obsessed mid-west, the buckle of the bible belt. Where hard work, God and football are all blended together in a stew of culture. But I never saw the devotion to anything that is equal to how much Brazilians love soccer.
North Americans might, MIGHT love their children as much as Brazilians love soccer.
It was quite the blowout for my first soccer match ever.
It happened to be in Rio de Janeiro.
It happened to be at the Maracanã stadium (largest in Brazil).
It happened to be with a Flamengo supporter/samba band club.
And Flamengo won, scoring 3 goals.
I took, what turns out to be, an unnecessary shower before the game. I didn’t realize that we would be in the “Throw your beer into the air every time they score a goal” section.
It was like a beer shower, and it turns out that's what football fans here call it too! Banho de cerveja.
What a wild time. I didn’t realize how covered in beer and sweat I would be. I once heard Rog from the Men in Blazers podcast say “I was covered in beer, sweat and piss, only some of which was my own.” I now, completely understand what he was talking about.
I got to wave a BAF. I got to play in the little bateria at like a crazy fast speed!.
There was so much full body wave, air chopping that if you didn't do it everyone in front and behind you would be bumping into you.
Check out this video compilation I made of the experience.
Luckily Flamengo won. 3 - 0. I don’t know how it would be if they had lost. It was wild enough as it was.
The stadium keeps the different team's fans separated on opposite sides of the stadium with opposite entrances so that there are not fights. I never thought about that being a thing.
There was a big clash the other day with Argentina supporters and the Rio cops. I read that during Fifa games they do not keep the fans separated... which seems like a dumb idea. Some sort of fantasy that the fans are just going to all magically get along.
What a cathartic release for people. There’s a lot to say about soccer games being a way to blow off steam for a population that doesn’t have access to opportunity or gets to win much in life.
I met this German samba lover who mentioned how in Rome they would use the Olympics to distract the people while the government passed all kinds of unpopular laws while nobody was paying attention.
The promotion and fandom of sports substituting for community connection and true freedom. There is a lot to unpack there. I know Noam Chompsky has a lot to say about sports fandom. However I do not feel that all entertainment is a malevolent distraction from political action.
If you're interested in that train of thought: https://scholarfactcheck.com/noam-chomsky-on-sports/
Some things are fun because they are just fun!
Right me, left Ana Carolina Dias. Ana is one of the porta bandeiras for Cubango!