Last weekend I went to my first ever fútbol game (soccer) here in Costa Rica. Technically, it was my first fútbol game that I had ever been to! A lot of my family played soccer back in the states as kids, but usually their games were held out of town. So this game was a brand new experience for me on all levels! My study abroad program, API, took all of us to it and rode the bus out to the national stadium with us. As commonly known, a lot of Costa Ricans are very passionate about soccer! The game was held at the national stadium in San José, and the whole day there was a lot of traffic throughout the entire city. There were added bus routes that day/night and a lot more pedestrians than normal. The whole city seemed to be getting ready for the big game. The game started at 8 pm on Friday night, but my host mom said I should be at the stadium by 6 pm. We did not arrive that early, but we did get in before the start of the game. Once we got in the game, the amount of people was overwhelming. The entire stadium was full, and most people were wearing their jerseys, hats, and had signs with them.
The game itself was alright. Costa Rica won (yay!!), but they only made one point the entire night while their opponent, Haiti, made no points. Although the game was nothing that exciting, the whole atmosphere of the game was something I had never experienced before and doubt I will ever experience again. Every person’s eyes were glued to the game, and not many people were talking during the game. Back in the states, a lot of sporting events are more about being social than they are about watching the sport.
This game was different than those I have seen because everyone was focused on the game itself and not the crowd or the person next to them. I think another indicator of this is that alcohol is not served in the stadium! Although I am sure some people would like to have a few beers while watching the game, people are not there to get drunk! The atmosphere in the stadium was such a clear reminder that I am not in the states anymore. On game night, most bars and restaurants here have the game playing on the TV but there is nothing quite like seeing it for yourself live at the stadium. I recommend if there is a game while you are here, go to it! Fútbol is a passion for many Ticos, so seeing what that is all about for yourself is extremely beneficial if you want to get a better understanding of the culture here.