Seeing a soccer game in Spain in 1995 was definitely the most cultural event I think I’ve experienced. And this was no ordinary game — it was Real Madrid vs. Barcelona (at Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona.) We’re talking a MASSIVE game.
I’m the one who definitely scored. Maria, a Spanish friend of mine from college, hooked me up with a ticket to this game. It just so happens her father was the head cardiac surgeon at one of the main hospitals in Barcelona. He had just recently performed surgery on a big time soccer official. I guess a soccer ticket for an American fan was a small favor.
For some reason, I thought it would mostly be men at the game. I was wrong. Fans of all ages were there — even small children and frail señoras pumped their hands in the air. I really felt privileged to be at Nou Camp since it didn’t seem like many foreigners were attending the game.
I spoke in caveman Spanish to the man sitting next to me. I told him how excited I was to be at the game.
“Me gusta fútbol de España mucho!“ (I like Spanish soccer a lot!) Soon he offered me sunflower seeds for a snack. We all sported our blue, yellow and red scarves around our necks and roared for “Barca.”
After the game was over, I headed to Las Ramblas. The entire city seemed to be jumping up and down and waving flags. I couldn’t experience this at a museum, cafe, market or park. I felt Catalan for a day.
The Superbowl of Spain.
Proudly showing the Catalan colors.
Celebrating in the streets of Barcelona (Good thing Barca won!)
Stopping traffic. No riots, no overturned vehicles — Now these are some fans (of course, their team did win.)