So it’s a footie match, is it?

Before we left on our trip, our sole European Friend — a Brit — advised us: "Wanye, if you’re going to go to Europe you HAVE to try to hit up a soccer game. Only don’t call it soccer, call it football. Or footie works even better. Calling it soccer there is like calling it Ice Hockey over here. Don’t embarrass yourself for heaven’s sakes." 

With this sound advice ringing in our ears, we threw caution to the wind and headed off to the footie match — Real Madrid v FC Racing.

As the subway neared the game more and more fans started piling on wearing their Real Madrid scarves, hats, jerseys and the like just like taking the beloved LRT at home. The fans were quite calm as apparently Real Madrid plays in 157 leagues simultaneously and this game wasn’t against anyone crazy. A Real Madrid victory was expected by anyone who knew anything, or so we gathered watching the numerous pre-game shows in the local bar the night before. 

We got out of the subway station near the stadium and it looked as though we had stepped into a major offensive campaign by the Spanish Army. If there was one police officer there was 8 gazillion, with paddy wagons lined up on all 4 sides of the building in case anyone wanted to step up to the plate and get sassy.

The stadium – the largest in Europe we were told – is designed to keep everyone outside as long as possible, presumably to give the cops the largest clubbing and tear gassing zone possible without damaging the building. We now realize the convenience of entering RX1 from any entrance and being able to wander freely until you find the right section.

Here we had to wander blindly around the outside of the building trying our ticket in every automated turnstile only to be rejected time after time, much to the rage of everyone lined up behind us as we had to turn around and head back down the 5 flights of stairs back down to the street. 

In Madrid they call the sections vomitorios – you read that right – and they keep them a state secret to confuse out-of-city fans who are dare take a ticket from a deserving Real Madrid fan.

Eventually we found our vomitorio and sat down to an unbelievable site of 120,000 of our closest amigos watching what turned out to be a great game. And we sat right close to the action, assuming you define "close" as "a low suborbital plane."

Game play is a tough thing to follow though we could actually see quite well despite the fact we could stand up and slap the International Space Station as it flew by. As much as we cringe when an NHL referee turns on his mike to announce a call, or Mark Sholtz comes on screen to "entertain" the faithful during a stoppage in play, we now see that it keeps the casual fan engaged and quasi informed as to what exactly in hell is going on during the game. Here there are no announcers and the scoreboard helpfully shows only the two team logos, the score and the time remaining in the half. This left us looking around confusedly as a pair of goals were called back, penalties were assigned for various phantom injuries and crazy plays went un-replayed after the fact.

This didn’t seem to bother any of the other 12 million fans at the game much less the man sitting next to us. This dude must not have heard that the game was a lock as he nervously watched the first 5 minutes of play before whipping out a pouch of tobacco, rolling a cigarette and lighting it aflame to sooth his tattered nerves. We looked around aghast, expecting one of the billion cops within the surrounding block to run over and taser this guy within an inch of his life, but it only seemed to serve as inspiration to the fans around us who followed suit. As the game wore on it looked like a Snoop Dogg concert there was so much smoke in the air, except here we didn’t get a hankering for Doritos or find anything to be hilariously funny.

As the game wore on Real Madrid scored a goal much to the delight of the hometown fans. They stood, they tooted the awesome little plastic horns everyone seemed to have on them and victory cigarettes were lit as far as the eye could see. Oh and you know what else they do in between tugs on rich Spanish tobacco? 

They sing. 

Yep, it seems everyone has a song they sing at all points during the game. Defense – there’s a song for that. Offense? A song. Player subbing in — song. 11:42 on the clock? Song. Oh and they dance too to keep time for the singing. We are out sung and danced at hockey games, Nation. Outside of the national anthems and the occasional accompaniment of Cotton Eyed Joe we can’t remember ever singing or dancing at Rexall Place. We don’t know when hockey fans decided to turn down "no singing or dancing lane" but we can’t help but think we would be a tremendous singing/dancing threat on several dozen hockey beers.

As the game rolled on into the second half we noticed a group of hilariously intense fans sitting behind the far net. Ringed by security guards we initially mistook these folk for fans of FC Racing. But as the game wore on it became clear they weren’t. Though they didn’t sit down the entire game, we couldn’t tell who they were cheering for exactly. Real Madrid wears black and white, FC Racing red and green. These mystery fans were clad in purple and sang mystery songs, danced mystery dances and smoked mysterious cigarettes all out of sync with the other fans at the game. And with a minute left  they whipped out all these huge flags and banners on cue and stood there as if to say "What are we doing here? Why are we so excited? You’ll never know Wanye."

Not able to ask the fans around us who they were, we were left to watch these super fans chant, dance and sing their way to a 1-0 Real Madrid victory. As they were safely led away by their security detail we couldn’t help but wonder if there was a secret game within a game that they were there to observe or if they were in fact representatives of the Spanish Tobacco companies overjoyed to witness the lung carnage within the arena.

Either way a good evening was had by all:

Real Madrid 1
FC Racing 0

Mystery Fans 1
Wanye 0

    • BarryS

      For the exact same reason a French guy in Quebec (not to be confused by a French Guy in France, who speaks a different language)would be pissed if you called him English. They bearly acccept Canadian and then only if you spell it wrong.

      They both believe all them battles they lost centuries ago were a lie and a mistake and they are still independant countries.

      National Myths are sacred things and not to be questioned you know

    • Ender

      Because the world recognizes that the word 'British' simply identifies an individual as someone from the United Kingdom. He's not offended, because that's true. Going back to OKnPT's example, a Canadian athlete would not be offended if they identified him as a North American because it's true. He might look to clarify by saying that he is specifically a Canadian, but he accepts the term North American, the generic term also incorporating citizens of the United States and Mexico. If, on the other hand, someone publicly identified him as an American athlete, that has a much different worldwide definition specifically describing a citizen of the United States of America; in that instance, the Canadian athlete would almost certainly make a point of issuing a correction.

      In our main example, our athlete is primarily Scottish but he is also British and he accepts that. But he is NOT English and would make a point of it.

    • BarryS

      Now, now. We are trying to give the illusion we are all cultured, well travelled, people of the world, not pajamma clad basement dwellers who ouly rise to semi-consciousness to bitch and complain about those with more talent than we.

      We do not go into corners in case the rats hit us from behind and give us concusions and the mice refs and the mole video review guys in T.O. call it a legal hit.

  • HansBaurMesserschmittWatson

    no brits are english.

    the united kingdom is not only england and neighbours.

    i believe i would offend a ukranian if i called him a soviet today.
    yet you say that a welsh wouldnt be offended if you called him british ? weird.

      • HansBaurMesserschmittWatson

        my whole point was that you didnt understand what you was talking about, and you still dont.

        there is more to europe then italy.

        people seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.

    • Ender

      I'm tempted to try and educate you further, but I grow weary. I have explained the political makeup of the United Kingdom very clearly but you seemingly still cannot grasp it. Do yourself a favor and do some reading if the subject interests you further. Then you can argue with the authors of the literature you review if you so decide instead of me. As for the Soviet thing, re-read what I wrote, especially the part that referred to the number 30.

      I'm with OKnPT on this.

      • HansBaurMesserschmittWatson

        you have not attempted to educate me, come on now.

        sum up for me some facts/education you threw my way today, please ?

        i asked you a few questions and i dont recall getting a clear answer for one of them.

        • Ender

          Ah, well then there's the problem. Simply get your 'recall' checked and everything will make sense.

          Or you could just re-read the thread starting with your comment #46 and my reply #47, and if you could keep the whole thing in your head at once reading to the end you'd have your answers.

          • HansBaurMesserschmittWatson

            all i gathered from that is that you dont know what british is.

            if great britian is united kingdom and united kingdom is england, i ask again.

            why would the welsh mind being called english and not british?

          • Ender

            OK, for the unenlightened I will take time to explain what you could have researched for yourself online:

            Far away across the Atlantic Ocean, there is a country called the United Kingdom of Great Britain. (Hence, United Kingdom = Great Britain) As I explained in point #78, it is comprised of four regions (similar to our provinces) that include England, Wales, Scotland, and North Ireland. The people that live in England are called English, kind of like Canadians living in Alberta are called Albertans. If you understand that all Albertans are Canadians but that not all Canadians are necessarily Albertans, then you should be able to grasp how all English people are British but not all British people are necessarily English. Are we there? Let's keep going . . .

            An Albertan would not acknowledge being a Manatoban, because he's not. But an Albertan would acknowledge being a Canadian, because he is. Similarly, someone from Wales would not acknowledge being English (because they're not from England) but they would acknowledge being British (because they're from Great Britain). Get it? Please say yes or I will have an aneurism. . .

          • BarryS

            The United Kingdom is so called because the "English" (actually, saxon/norwegion/Danish/French i.e Norman) conquerors decised it should be called the United Kingdom. Actually there is some debate if wales was actually conquered or just got tired of fighting and used sex instead, (See Tudor kings and queens) to get control. Great Britain is Great Britain to diferentiate it from Little Britain, Brittany.

            The Russians actually tried, by forced movements, to interbreed all the Slavs into a single people but ran out of time. All those moved Russians who can go home and all those other slave moved to the rest of Eastern Europe and the various "stans" who can't go home, would disagree about being Soviets or even Russians.

  • Ender

    HansBaurMesserschmittWatson wrote:

    people seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.

    Oh my; so many responses, I just can't even choose one.

  • HansBaurMesserschmittWatson

    a person who is from ireland refers to him self as irish, not british not enlgish.

    a person from scotland is scottish, not english not british.

    a person from wales is welsh, not english not british.

    you call them brits, and you are wrong.

    the people who hate to be called brits the most are, the north irish.

    they were the original indigenous and were pushed north, persucuated and oppresed by the brits.

    brits were nothing more then covenant movement who took that land in the name of the church.

    not being a dick here, but i got another question. why didnt you include india and countries of africa in the united kingdom too ?

    if the sun never sets on the united kingdom, that means there is got to be more to it then the timezone over the islands in question.

  • Ender

    HansBaurMesserschmittWatson wrote:

    not being a dick here, but i got another question. why didnt you include india and countries of africa in the united kingdom too ?

    If you are so uneducated that you don't understand the difference between the British Empire and the United Kingdom, then you need a Social Studies teacher and not an online hockey site.

    I leave you with this:

    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    • HansBaurMesserschmittWatson

      i understand that clearly. you are pissing in my ear here and trying to tell me that its raining.

      DMX left me with that back in '97.

      since you are trying to pass judgement here, i will do the same.

      i will assume that you are a type of person that loves to talk but hates to listen, since you love to type but hate to read.