I must admit, the most impressive display of pride had been seen during the futbol games. There is a stadium about 20 minutes (walking) east of where I live where two games have taken place since I arrived here. The first game was between cross-town rivals Sevilla F.C. and Real Betis. Apparently, Sevilla has won the match for the past 20-something years, but Betis has always been “the people’s team”. The game was intense, and the whole town was humming with excitement. Even the bars were standing-room-only during the game and in the end, Betis won the game 2-0. The streets were alive for hours afterward with celebrations.
The second game took place this past Wednesday between England and Sevilla. During my break between classes, I snuck off from the University with Dana and Jenna to get some food at a local bar. It was full of Englishmen ready to support their team (and take advantage of the beer prices) prior to the game. It took almost 20 minutes for me to get a beer. While waiting I listened in on some conversations. Englishmen certainly demonstrate the versatility of the f-word and commonly employed it as an adjective even when no emphasis was necessary. During a break in one of the conversations I turned to one of the men, “Did you come all the way here just for the game?” I asked, like it was some kind of epic voyage from the UK. He turned to me, surprised, “F***ing hell, you can speak English?!” again with the unnecessary adjective usage. I explained to him that I was American, bilingual, and studying at “University” in Sevilla for the semester. He asked me to order his beer in Spanish and wound up paying for mine. Speaking to him with his accent was surprisingly difficult- I almost slipped into some kind of terrible hybrid accent at one point. After awhile, I said goodbye and good luck as I finished my beer and moved on.
Not all of the fans were so friendly, though. Only fifty feet away, a swarm of police had their eye on a mob of fans that were throwing oranges at cars and scooters that drove down the street between them. The group was primarily Englishmen and I found the antics of the fans to be a little embarrassing. I mean, I’ve seen Greenstreet Hooligans, from the look of it the movie was pretty accurate in its portrayal of die hard football fans.
I heard that there were nearly 5000 English in the city that day. It seems like a lot of people to me, but then again I’m no expert… yet:)