The Astounding Travel Adventures of a Miraculous Fellow

Oh. My. God.
September 8, 2008, 10:46 am
Filed under: Brazil
Brazilians like futébol.  Not soccer, not football, but futébol.  Technically, they are all the same sport, but futébol does something strange to Brazilians.  Like a crackhead on PCP, futébol induces lunacy, shrieking, singing, dancing, and pure, unbridled mania in a Brazilian spectator.
It is awesome.
Last Sunday, I went with my three Germans friends to a game at the venerable Maracaná stadium in Rio de Janeiro.  Take the history of Lambeau Field and Yankee Stadium, combine it with the insanity of the Oakland Coliseum when Raiders fans are really, really wound up on “Free Knife and Booze Day,” multiply that by fourteen, and you have Maracaná.  This place is the Mecca of futébol for Brazilians.  Every child in this country grows up dreaming of playing here; or if they suck at futébol, at the very least pummeling a rival fan here. 
Luckily for us, the game that Sunday involved a showdown of epic proportions.  We got to witness two teams from Rio playing each other.  Fluminense, the generally poorer team with heavy support from the favela communities, was playing Flamengo, the rich, snobby team with the majority of fans throughout Rio.  Normally, I’d jump on the bandwagon for Fluminense in a heartbeat, but being a foreigner and fearing being de-limbed by rabid fans, whom would then use my legs for bats, my torso as a stand, and my head as a whiffle ball, we held off choosing a team until we got an idea where we were sitting.
Before the game, as we were herded in with another group of frightened foreigners, we watched as two horse-riding police slapped a fan, then pulled out their beat sticks to teach him a lesson.  I’m not totally sure what that lesson was, probably something to do with not barbecueing and consuming tourists, when the guy yelled something from his group of friends and the cops said “Okay, okay, we’re leaving.”  This made me slightly nervous.
However, upon entering the game, we found out that we were Flamengo fans, as most of the 60,000 people sitting near us were wearing the red and black of my newly adopted team.  Wearing any other color would invite a quick death.  Mercifully, we sat down in the upper levels of Maracaná, as fans enjoy throwing things at the fans in the lower section, such as lit flares, fireworks, smoke bombs, and cups full of urine. 
Before the game even started, the fans got pretty fired up.  First, the drums started.  Not just one drum, but probably at least 25, and they didn’t stop until the game ended.  Tens of thousands of fans were jumping up and down in unison, singing the songs of Flamengo, which generally included poetic hymns describing the rape and murder of Fluminense fans.  Next, about 100 giant Flamengo flags started moving their way around the stands swaying to and fro, celebrating what would be a crushing defeat of their rivals, or at least a massacre of their families and children if Flamengo was to lose.  Next, small plastic bags of cut up newspaper were thrown around to all fans from section to section, to be chucked into the air when Flamengo took the field.  Finally, the coup-de-gras, the flares started up.  Not just a few of them, but literally hundreds of flares and fireworks around the stadium.
Then, suddenly, the place exploded.  I quickly pooped my pants in surprise, and upon being covered in shredded newspaper, I fired my newspaper into the air, and my team, Flamengo, was taking the field.  I was instantaneously a Flamengo fan, and I suddenly realized that all of my life, I had hated Fluminense and all of their wretched, scoundrel fans. 
Again, the place was saturated in deafening songs, horns, drums, fireworks, and the two dudes sitting in front of me started cursing like 14th-century Portuguese pirates.  While I do not speak Portuguese very well at all, my virgin ears were accosted by well over 4,784 curse words such as “puta” and “porra de caralho” which I’m pretty sure mean “jerkhole” and “crud factory”.
And, with all of this, the game hadn’t even started yet.
When it did start, both the Flamengo fans and the Fluminense were going berserker.  But, there were a whole lot more of us Flamengans, so we drowned out those trecherous buggers from Fluminense.  That is, until Fluminense scored.  The place went eerily quiet, except the taunts from Fluminense.  I expected a tactical nuke to be launched from our stands over at them, but instead the Flamengans just started cheering even louder than before, until a nice pass into the box turned into a…
I’ve never seen anything like the reaction to this goal at any sporting event in my life. 
I quickly did what I generally do in surprising situations, and pooped my pants again.  Then, we all started jumping, dancing, screaming, drumming, lighting flares, shooting fireworks, swinging flags, and taunting those fools from Fluminense for their pitiful performance as soccer fans.  The place was bumping and grooving for at least 20 minutes after the goal, until Fluminense had the nerve to score again.  Those bastards.
At this point, a couple of our Flamengo fans started booing our own goalie, and the dude in front of me was not too impressed.  He addressed these people gently, but firmly, (and I directly quote) “I wish you were sitting in my row, because I would murder you.”  This did not seem like an idle threat.
As the game went on, it looked more and more likely that we would lose, and a complete riot would ensue outside, until the last two minutes when a quick cross reached a Flamengo head, and it was planted in the corner of the net…
Mercifully, the game ended with a riot-stalling 2-2 tie.  This day, no one would be killed, and no tourist would be drawn and quartered.
But, holy God in heaven, did Brazilians prove to me they are the undefeated, heavyweight champion of Craziest Futébol Fans on Earth. 

1 Comment so far
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Ive been to quite a few games here…EPIC!

Comment by kelli

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