In preparation for the game, I bought a Panama shirt over the weekend to wear. Everyone asked if I was going to wear a USA shirt to the game but I have been to Latin American soccer games before and I know how they treat the opposing team, win or lose. Plus I told them I did not come all the way to Panama to buy a USA soccer shirt!
Since the brewery is a sponsor of the team, I was able to wear the jersey and jeans to work yesterday. Nothing gets Panamanians excited like their soccer team on game-day except a blonde wearing their soccer team´s jersey on game-day. I got even more hoots, honks, stares, comments, and I don´t know what else than any other day but it was all in good fun. During work everyone was excited that I would get to go to the game. Then, at about 3:30, it started pouring rain (we heard it on the roof) and everyone heard me let out a big "NOOOOOOO" and we all laughed. It poured for about 15 minutes then was done.
I went to Ernesto´s for a quick dinner before we drove out to the neighborhood where the stadium is. We had philly steak and cheese sandwiches. He better stop cooking all this good food or I might be showing up for dinner more often. We left a little later than we probably expected and hit a bit of traffic along the water. Luckily Ernesto knows his way around pretty well and we parked at his sister´s right by the stadium. We said a quick hello and were off to the game!
The traffic and people were increasingly crazy as we neared the stadium. They would also only let you in the gate where your ticket allowed even though you could walk around once you were in there. We tried one gate but were told to go to the next, which of course had a giant line that seemed to not move. Plus people were running around everywhere so it was hard to tell if people were cutting way up ahead or just trying to push in. The time ticked away in that line and people got in and left it. When we were about halfway through it we heard the National Anthems start and I was starting to get... let´s say antsy... because we had arrived with plenty of time and were about to miss the start! Anyway, we waited some more. When I started seeing people who were previously around us inside the gate I should have said screw it, but we waited. our line eventually got up to the gate and it was chaos. People pushing in from every angle past 3 guards blocking the way who you had to duck under to get it. Inefficient AND chaotic... but we got in. I would like to note that Johana suggested we take a picture in line to remember what it was like and I vehemently said no because I was so... antsy... but looking back she was probably right, Sorry Johana!
|Panamanian version of Block O|
Once inside we looked for space to sit together. Seats aren't assigned but the stadium isn´t too big so there isn´t really a bad seat. The game was a ton of fun. The US had already scored by the time we got there so the crowd was probably even more animated. People jumped to their feet every time there was a break-away or we were on the US´s turf, lots of yelling, especially coaching since stereo-typically everyone there knows soccer. But it was awesome. I even go to shout some things I had picked up in Spain and Brazil. It was a dirrrrty game too so lots of opportunity to use my best phrases. We had one break-away just before the goal box and he was about to score but pretty much got trampled and tripped by the defenders. The crowd didn´t like that, even less because he was hurt and the trainers had to come out with the stretcher. He was able to walk off but did not come back in. Intense.
|but he´s ok!|
|Cheers to Panama!|
|Beer and eggs haha|
Let it be known that I definitely want to go to another game before I leave!