Among the billions of people who live on this planet I am among the minority when I say that I am not a futbol fan. So, it somewhat ironic that I got tickets to the River/Boca game - these should go to someone that knows the rules, but life is not fair. I got a ticket and I went.
Sports Illustrated says Boca vs. River is among the 10 best sporting events in the world. The Guardian Observer (UK) says River vs. Boca is THE sporting event you need to go to before you die. (No worries mom, none of us plan on dieing anytime soon)
Being a bunch of gringos we hired a professional guide for game, he gave us two rules. First - don't wear anything that had the color of either team in it. Second - cheer for River (since our seats were in the River section). If Boca scored we booed. If we didn't boo (or we cheered for Boca) he couldn't guarantee our safety.
Just to be safe we arrived two hours early. About a mile from the stadium police were forcing the fans for the two teams to use separate side of the street. What caught our attention was the tank (as in big gun on tracks) they were using to divide the fans.
In the River Stadium visiting teams fans sit in an area marked by a 12-foot fence with razor wire. So, we were locked in a stadium where the fans are so passionate that the police don't let them walk down the street together and the opposing fans are kept in a section surrounded by razor wire. This was going to be a good game.
When the announcer introduced Boca mayhem broke out... about 70,000 River fans were giving the Boca fans the "bird - as good a time as any to get your frustrations out
The Game: Within 4 minutes of the start of the game two players had been removed on stretchers - this was going to be an intense game. I hope they brought extra players.
Boca scored first. We BOOED - really loudly. Then River scored. I thought I might go deaf, this was the loudest thing I'd ever experienced in a stadium. Thank god half time is coming.
The half time singer sang his little ditty while nice looking young people carried an enormous banner that read "No Mas Violencia". Somehow I didn't think it was going to unify the crowd- but I appreciated the effort.
The second half proved to be a fantastic game. I can't do the game justice, but it was an amazing display of athleticism.
River scored two more goals - Boca was shut out. The Boca fans stood defiantly singing and chanting...until 90 minutes after the game. Finally the police removed them-probably tired of the Boca fans burning things and throwing whatever possible onto the seats below them.
So, in total we were in the stadium for 6 hours. And, the crowd never stopped cheering and singing. Now I need tickets to the game in the spring. This time at Boca stadium - I can cheer for them (as long as they don't light me on fire and throw me on to the lower deck).