Monday, October 24, 2005

Soccer Mom

I decided to take my son to a professional soccer game in Jerusalem. Their local team, Betar was playing Hapoel Tel Aviv. I hadn't been to a soccer game in 8 years, but remember it being somewhat of a family affair, with people bringing in picnic baskets, thermoses and sharing their grub with everyone seated around them.

I tried to get Hubby to go with me because it's kinda like Canadian hockey. Well it is and it isn't. They don't sell beer at soccer games, at least not in Jerusalem.

So in the end my Good Daughter, my Son and his short spikey haired friend and myself went. My son insisted we get seats on the "mizrachi" (Eastern) side of the stadium. I got them but didn't realize the stupid ticket broker gave the adults Gate 11 and the "youth" Gate 13. We had quite a difficult time, entering the stadium together. But in the end they let us sit by Gate 13 where the rest of the "youth" were. I noticed the gates on the Western side of the stadium were filled with mature adults and families. I also noticed that Gate 13 was full of greasy looking football hooligan types. And this is where we were going to be seated. The rowdy bunches already gathered more than 2 hours before on the upper level. They were singing and banging drums and I nixed sitting with them. I opted for the seats closer to the field, and on the same row where I saw other small fry with their dads.

"They're going to throw things at us" remarked by daughter.

"The security is so tight, no one can bring in bottles or anything dangerous. The only thing they'll throw is confetti."

"But confetti will stick to my hair."

"Oh, c'mon honey, it's not like lice."

It was true that no one threw anything heavier than confetti, and I was glad I didn't wear my red pants that evening because red and white were the colors of the opposing team who were sitting on the side. I would have had a more difficult time getting seated by security.

A few rowdy teens took the row in front of us. I noticed we were blocked in by high gates. It looked like we were in a cage. Most of the stadium seemed open but only our gate was especially built for the football crazies. Other young people tried to get into our gate but security locked them out. I was a bit frightened at first but - hey - we're all on the same team and I didn't see any serious fights breaking out. Occasionally during the game I saw the police escort about 4 people with their hands tied, out of the stadium, but around us it was pretty cool. Everyone stood on their chairs and after the National Anthem was sung, the confetti flew.

Curses flew like heavy rainfall. Everyone cursed. They cursed our team, the opposing team, and I, of course, cursed in my best English.

"Oh Dammit!"
"Oh FUCK!!! I can't believe he missed that GOAL!!!"

We lost 2 - 0 and the disappointment was felt more in the stadium than if you watch it on tv. I felt bad that for his first game, my son didn't see his team scoring a goal. Everyone in our section would have gone absolutely nuts over a win. But as the game dragged on, people were getting subdued and even left when there was just a few minutes left to the game.

There were a handful of women/girls in our section, but the boys around behaved nicely. Better than I expected. No ass pinching or harrassment. My daughter did have someone politely ask for her number and he told her that I was cute.
I smiled.

Next time I go to a game - I'll opt for Gate 13 in the Eastern section again.

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