Boca's sign CABJ - Club Athletic Boca Junior
What comes to mind when you think of gangs? Bloods? Crypts? Well in Argentina, as an observer, one could almost call the soccer fans of various clubs gangs. The two biggest gangs would be Boca and River. The smaller gangs would be Huracan and Racing. The people here are fanatical about which club/team they support. Everyone proudly wears their team colors at all the home games, but when it comes to going to an away game, things can get dangerous. Depending on the outcome of the game or the strength of the rivalry, the home “gang” could seriously harm the opposing gang if not many of them are around.
The soccer teams are in reality very similar to the gangs in the States.
If one went to an opposing gang’s “area”, they would need to be careful about what all they wear. One could get beat or worse when wearing the colors of an opposing gang in certain “gang” districts. It is considered an insult here in Argentina if you went to the Huracan neighborhood wearing River or Boca colors and vice versa. The teams here are held in high esteem and if they are insulted, their gangs will retaliate.
River - Boca's main rival
It is hard to know which colors offend which groups, so it is wise to find out which colors each team wears so that one does not offend anyone. One of the students in our group bought a River jersey and was wearing it on the last class on wheels tour, but our tour guide asked him to go put a jacket over it in order to save the student from any potential trouble.
the Huracan stadium
I’m not sure if any of the teams have certain signs that are original for each team, but the paraphernalia and the songs are all different for each team. The tune to the songs of each team might be the same, but the words are all different. Regardless of which neighborhood one is in, each is hailed in their own songs during their home games at the local stadiums.
After attending one of the Boca games, I could see how loyal the fans were. Our group went to the River Stadium to watch the Argentine national team, but even then, when former Boca players or former River players were announced, the crowd had different reactions for each one. It was plain to see the division in the different types of fans in the stadium. Our tour guide, Gabriel, even said that there has been talk of teams being more loyal to their local team than the national Argentine team.
He explained that maybe there are some fanatics who are like that, but everyone doesn’t share the same feeling. Gabriel said that those crazy people would purposely want the Argentine team to lose so that they could see the fans of the other players (who are still on the same team as the players from their local teams) cry and be unhappy. “Argentine soccer is a game of crying and unhappiness, where everyone gets angry, happy, etc. It is not like Brazilian soccer where everyone is happy even when they are losing.”
fans for "away" teams must sit with the protection of a fence and 2 rows of police
So is everyone part of a “gang” down here in Buenos Aires, Argentina? Well maybe not everyone, or better yet, maybe not to the extent where they will cheer more for their local players than for the national team. However, wherever you go, there is always that one group of fanatics/crazy people who will do anything and everything to prove their loyalty to their team/gang. I’ve seen how Argentine “gangs” are, but I wonder if the ones in Brazil are different. I guess I will find out next week when we go there!