Sunday, September 28, 2008

"minha camisa vermelha" (my red shirt)

The Usual Suspects repeated last Sunday with a riverfront churrasco and a trip to the game. (This is a habit I could really get into!)

As we walked to the stadium you could hear the fans roaring from quite a distance.

We initially grabbed some chairs on the side opposite Popular (aka Headcase Central) for the first half.

Due to a caffeine deficiency, I shot this shaky-handed video (my apologies) about 20 minutes before kick off just to give you a taste. The opening shot is Popular, under the giant banners, jumping and leading the stadium in cheers. As I scan left you begin to get a feel for the atmosphere—about 40,000 fans in red—and (at the end of the clip) a few Gremistas sitting just past the empty section.


For security reasons, Grêmio fans (eventually about 3,000 of them) were cordoned off by fences, military police, dogs, and an empty seating section on either side. Toward the end of the game they broke down one of the fencesdespite having had police enter their section repeatedly to squash aggressionat which point Headcase Central feels like the safer place to be!

A minute before kickoff we decided we were too close to the Grêmistas and too far from Popular, so we relocated.

My induction to the legendary GreNal battle was a captivating frenzy in the stands and incredible comeback performance on the field! Let me recap:

Gooooooooool do Inter – 4th minute

Gol do Grêmio – 18th minute (Yes, I am biased.)

Gooooooooooooool do Inter – 28th minute

Gooooooooooooooooool do Inter – 40th minute

Gooooooooooooooooooooool do Inter – 46th minute

The second half was scoreless, but what a party! The fans did not disappoint the team, and the team did not disappoint the fans. At one point, Inter put on a great show of fancy footwork in an elaborate game of "Keepaway" that had the fans roaring "Ole!" with each sublime passing maneuver, as if watching a masterful group of toreadors. That was very funny! Even Clemer, Inter’s goalkeeper, got in on the act—playing a sort-of hackysack with the ball and playing to the torcida.

With the win, Inter moves up the tables from 11th place to 8th, and Grêmio loses their 1st place foothold in the Campeonato Brasileiro.

Mixing flags and fireworks always appeals to my rebellious side. Surely their mom’s also told them it wasn’t a wise idea, but…


Man, that was a great experience. I loved it.

Xailaiai, xailaiai,