Indiana University Overseas Study

I’ve got football on my mind. Yes, my teams (Colts and Hoosiers) are struggling; I know the Colts are above .500 and coming off a big win, which I love reminding the Colts doubters in Sevilla. Then, there’s the Hoosiers. They’re playing well and just struggling to close out wins. I learned all of this on my way back from a weekend in Barcelona.

However, after getting to hear all that great American football news, I got to watch El Clasico in Barcelona. Unfortunately, scalping tickets were to expensive. Anyway, this is the futbol (or soccer) that’s on my mind.

First off, I’ve got to see two games while in Spain. They are the Super Cup of Spain (Real Madrid C.F. hosting F.C. Barcelona) and when Sevilla F.C. hosted F.C. Barcelona. After saying that, I’m going to apologize in advance to any football players or fans that I may offend during this post. My understanding of football is slowly growing.

It’s definitely true that football is a way of life here in Spain, some might even go far enough to say it’s similar to a religion and it’s a sin to incorrectly talk about futbol. Futbol is never considered to be American football. For example, during one of my classes, the Americans were talking about football and my professor’s response roughly was:

“Futbol es fútbol que es fútbol. No hay nada más sobre eso. Futbol es fútbol, no sé que es su definición de fútbol o que se juega en los Estados Unidos… No entiendo que es… No es futbol…”

Translated –> “Futbol is fútbol. There’s nothing more about it. Futbol is futbol, I don’t know what your definition of football is or why you play in the US. I don’t understand it… It’s not futbol.”

I agree and I played football; I don’t know why we call it football when the feet are rarely used. A British couple agreed with my sentiment, but I digress.

First off, Él Clasico, in my opinion, is one of the biggest stages in football, especially in Spain. It’s between arguably the two best clubs in the world and the teams consist of Spain’s national team, which is split half Madristas (Madrid) and half (Barcelona), and the two best players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Leon Messi. While the game I saw wasn’t considered “El Clasico” because it wasn’t regular season, but it was for the title of “Best in Spain”.

Unfortunately (as a Barcelona supporter), Barcelona lost and lost the cup as well. But, I can’t complain. That game has to be up towards the top of my list when it comes sporting events. It’s just ridiculous the amount of energy and how crazy the atmosphere was. Sure, at sporting events in America, we have cheering, yelling, and overall support of the team, but nothing like this (See video below for a brief example). I would love to see this at every game and event I go to, regardless who is being supported. Madrid’s stadium, Santiago Bernabeu, holds 85,500 people and all of them in unison would chant hymns. They’d jeer at the official and the opponents, especially when they dive aka flopping. This went on for 90 straight minutes. The game went up and down. Madrid scoring, then Barcelona, the Madrid. Personally, Madrid’s goals weren’t that impressive compared to Messi’s one goal, but that’s neither here nor there.

Madristas singing the Hymn of Madrid, or Hala Madrid:

This was very similar to the game in Sevilla against Barcelona. Now, I’ve always liked Barcelona, but my team is Sevilla, and that’s important, because I’m studying here. Barcelona was coming off 5 straight wins and Sevilla had only given up two goals in 5 games and 4th in La Liga (Spanish 1st division). Sevilla started out well and was up 2-0 until one player got a red card and Sevilla was down a man. A few minutes later, Barcelona scored, 2-1. Then the controversy came into play. All the Sevillanos, followers of Sevilla, saw it, the TV saw it, but the refs didn’t. A handball which then led to a goal. From there, Barcelona had the momentum and the game. Although they lost, I have to give it to Sevilla for their effort and the supporters were going crazy all game.

Here’s the Hymn of Sevilla being sung by the Sevillistas and my friends and I attempting to sing:

Like I said, I’d love to have this type of atmosphere brought back to the States, especially for the Hoosier Army (IU Soccer team supporters). If you haven’t been to a game, I recommend going. They’re fun.

Earlier, I mentioned that it’s important that I’m a Sevillista. Here in Sevilla, there are two teams: Sevilla FC and Real Betis. This rivalry is intense. It’s unbelievable the following both teams have especially since traditionally neither are really good nor is one better than the other. As a Sevillista, I naturally had to by a camiseta of my favorite player, Navas.

However, what insued after is interesting. Of course, I had to wear it right when I got the kit (or jersey). That meant a day of classes and walking through the city to get to classes. I got a range of reactions. I got jeered at, yelled at, and cussed at by Real Betis supporters of all ages. Then came the relief a few seconds later, the nearby Sevillista would come to my aid. Then they would argue with the Betis supporter on why Sevilla is better. I’d be congratulated, as a foreigner, for picking the correct team; people would cheer; people would go crazy; and, to be frank, they’d just go nuts to see a Sevilla kit. Then, after a long day of learning not to wear a kit outside, I get to my home stay where my host, a Betis supporter, and I had a long “discussion” on why I need to follow Betis. I can’t speak from a city with two rival teams in the same division, but it just doesn’t seem to occur much in the States. There’s just not that big of a rivalry that you see on a daily basis. It’s just crazy and awesome to see.

So, if you go to Sevilla, pick your poison. Choose wisely.

For myself:

“Y es por eso que hoy vengo a verte,
sevillista seré hasta la muerte
La Giralda presume orgullosa
de ver al Sevilla en el Sánchez Pizjuán.

Y Sevilla, Sevilla, Sevilla,
aquí estamos contigo Sevilla,
compartiendo la gloria en tu escudo,
orgullo del fútbol de nuestra ciudad.”

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