Monday, September 22, 2008

o sol e o futebol

Sunday marked the first day of Spring—wheee! Granted the temperatures have been far milder here than the Chicago winters I am accustomed to, but for nearly ten months my sunshine didn’t play after six. I am very eager to spend evenings in the park walking past gorgeous blooms in radical colors.

What a great spring day it was. I went to Parque Gigante, which is essentially a country club located on the long and narrow strip between Internacional’s stadium (Estádio Beira-Rio) and the Guaíba river. Victoria and Bruno and a handful of their really friendly friends made churrasco (more meat!).

(I was going for clowny, but it came out a little bit "Shankhill Butcher" I guess.)

We drank beer (yes, me too), chatted, and played soccer, err, futebol.

Gooooooooool para o Bruno!

Very Serious Futebol.

Brazil just passed a law making it illegal for spectators to drink alcohol in the stadium (gasp!). I'm pretty sure drinking on the field is not within regulation either, but whatever.

I think I was an awesome goalkeeper in another life...

...but in this life, given the choice between saving the beer or saving the shot...

well as you can see...

About six in the evening we headed over to the stadium to watch Inter take on Vítoria, named for the northeastern Brazilian city and not to be confused with Victoria The Kiwi (though I think that would be a funny match too).

Photos never do justice to beautiful sunsets, but the stadium is certainly well placed for them.

Bruno deserves lots of credit for my happy Sunday. First, he was watching out for me the whole time. Second, he graciously and unexpectedly hooked me up with a ticket, gratis. But most of all, he knows his stuff! During the first half we sat in the calmer arquibancada inferior, but when the teams switched goals we moved too… to Popular—where the very… spirited… people sit. This proved a brilliant strategy because I was able to focus on the game during the first half and have a great view of Inter’s penalty shot, and able to be distracted by the passionate torcida during the scoreless second half.

Here’s a video of one of my favorite cheers. (Trust me, it’s probably a good thing most of you won’t understand the words, ha!) The crowd only dies off at the end because the game ended and people began pouring out into the streets, for more chanting, of course.


This is only a third of the madness of a GreNal game (between Inter and crosstown rival Grêmio). The next one happens to be next Sunday—and there’s a very high probability that I will be therefinally!to witness the spectacle in person. I’m veeeery excited about that.

Although GreNals are always high-intensity, important games, this one will be even bigger. Inter needs to win it to get closer to qualifying for next years’ Copa Libertadores. But more importantly, Grêmio has been leading the point tables for many weeks now. However, their once-comfortable lead has diminished to just one point (after their tie today), and an Inter victory is even sweeter when it’s the game that dethrones the reigning king, ?

I hope it's springy next Sunday, too.