Ole, ole, ole, ole!

Florianopolis Travel Blog

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            I am truly fortunate to be in South America for the World Cup this year.  Despite the fact that there are soccer fans in the United States (a minority, but existent nonetheless), nothing comes close to the passion of fans in every other part of the world.  I was lucky enough to be in England, France, and Spain during the 2002 World Cup, particularly in Piccadilly Circus with all the hooligans when England won its opener.  It was an experience that I’ll remember for ever.  Now I get to add on to those memories in South America - a place that dominates every facet of soccer and has fans more loyal than any sport I’ve experienced in the United States.  The closest I’ve experienced firsthand is being in Lambeau Field for a Green Bay Packers game with my grandpa who is a lifelong season ticket holder.  While the devotion of Packers fans (it takes passion to watch a usually average team in sub-zero weather) is unwavering and the waiting list for tickets is generations long, the sheer intensity for games is nothing like that which can be found in South America.
            Having never watched a game on the national level in Argentina or Brazil, I got a good preview of what fans are capable of at one of the Boca games.  The fans were out of their mind for their team in a regular season game that didn’t even matter.  That was only 50,000 or so people at a club level, but picturing 50 million at the national level celebrating games that only come along every four years is unfathomable to me.  Now move that location to Brazil who owns everything soccer, where all the expectations are high and the pressure is immense and mix in people who love nothing more than to watch football and party.  Thousands of miles and a large ocean can’t separate the games from the madness of the fans back home that will be yelling at the TVs in packed bars as if they were in the front row watching their team firsthand in all their glory.  I don’t even know what to expect, in all honesty, from the fans in this country when July 13 comes around and Brazil kicks off what should be another deep run into the tournament.  The only thing I do know in certainty is that I’ll be right there with them watching and cheering every play… as long as they aren’t playing the United States.

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