Sunday, January 18, 2009
Chivas. Cruz Azul. 'Nuff Said.
Last night I ran home from my first guitar lesson en español so we could eat quickly and get on a bus heading toward Estadio Jalisco, where the Chivas of Guadalajara were set to play Cruz Azul, our old nemeses from Mexico City (they knocked the Pumas out of the playoffs...grrrrrr).
We took a bus downtown, then transferred to one heading north on Calz Independencia. We weren't really sure how to get to the stadium, as this was our first time, but once we boarded the bus there was no doubt. The camion was packed like the Red Line during a Crosstown Classic. We stuffed ourselves in like sardines, and the driver played the same three ranchera songs over and over, and a dude behind us in a Chivas jersey - ok, EVERYONE was in red-and-white striped Chivas jerseys (hence the Chivas nicknames, Las Rojiblancas and La Rebaña) - kept dancing around in a circle - yes, in a circle in a packed city bus - and yelling something like "Súbele, chofér, súbele! (Turn it up, bus driver, turn it up!)" over and over and over. People kept laughing at him, but you could tell they loved it.
We get off the bus with everyone else and cross the street to the stadium. The stadium is seriously towering; it's half the size of Estadio Azteca in Mexico City but it looks at least as big from the outside. And it's definitely twice as big as Estadio Universitario, where the Pumas play. I love my old Pumas, but this was a whole new level of fanaticism. Not only street stands with official and pirate merchandise (Can some enterprising person please start up a pirate merchandise market in the States? It's the only reason that everyone here, no matter their income, can afford their own jersey. Both the official and pirate markets thrive, side by side! Wrigleyville, make this happen.) but also street food, tacos and tortas ahogadas and the like, not tailgating so much as little temporary mini-stands where you can grab a bite before the game. We make our way through this red-and-white gauntlet, packed with people, and get in a crazy-long line for the ticket booth.
...And unfortunately, that was the end of our night at Estadio Jalisco. Apparently Chivas games actually, um, sell out. Hey, we didn't know! Pumas games almost never did, unless they were playing a cross-town rival or something; we always just walked up and bought our tickets on game day. We probably should have remembered that the Chivas are the most popular team in the country and that Cruz Azul were the national runners-up last fall, losing in a close shootout to the champs of Toluca. So it was a big game.
We didn't get in the stadium, but we made our way back downtown and found a sports bar, where we ordered some Victorias and watched the rest of the game on TV, which was actually pretty cool because believe it or not we've seen like five games in person from high up in the stands but only one or two games on TV. It's cool to be able to actually see faces and names on the back of the jerseys and especially to get replays of some incredible goals (dude scored a goal with his head, with his head). You can see some of the replays yourself below.
And next time, we're buying our tickets ahead of time.