14 March, 2013

"A Barcelona Game at the Legendary Camp Nou" by Hannah Berg

Hannah Berg, a Cinema and Photography major has been to Barcelona over Spring Break. Here she reports back about her experience watching a football match at Nou Camp Stadium...

Barça! Barça! Barrrrrr-ça!

These cheers, and many others, filled the nearly 100,000 seats at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona on Saturday night. It was a regular league game against Deportivo De La Coruña, but the beloved FC Barcelona team had no problem filling the massive stadium with dedicated fans. Currently ranked the best football team in the world, and featuring the currently best-ranked player in the world, Lionel Messi, every game is guaranteed to be exciting.

During spring break in Barcelona, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a few tickets to the March 9th match. After playing football, soccer for Americans, throughout my life I was ecstatic to see a professional game with a few of my favourite players.

The game was to begin at eight, but I wanted to really understand the traditions of football the Barcelona way, so I left for the stadium at five. When approaching the vast stadium, I found I had made the right decision, seeing that the area was packed with fans an hour and a half before the gates opened. We decided to grab something to eat and drink but were shocked to discover that the stadium restaurants did not serve alcohol within three hours of the game. This was a surprise to us from America, where spectator sports often seem to revolve around alcohol consumption.

In the minutes before the gates opened, I observed several men walking through the crowd selling cans of beer to those in line, however, only a few of the spectators bought some. Once inside, the concession stands sold only non-alcoholic beer. This furthered my realisation that the Spanish truly loved and respected the great game.

The match started promptly at eight, and Barcelona was off to a great start. The crowd amazed me by being completely attentive, never leaving their seats for food or the loo. They applauded when the team showed good possession skills and whistled in distaste when a goal was missed or a referee made a controversial call. As the game went on, the crowd got more and more anxious until Alexis Sánchez scored Barcelona’s first goal, just before halftime.

After the halftime break, the teams were back, this time, Deportivo was showing more strength, but Barcelona still beat them in terms of skill. The stakes were heightened when Barcelona put on the talented Messi and Andrés Iniesta, both international superstars and crowd favourites. Not long after Messi joined that game, he scored a fantastic goal, only to be called on a foul, making the goal illegitimate. Despite the crowd’s disappointment, the game carried on and about ten minutes before the end of the game, Messi scored again, making the score 2-0. Despite the clock running down, both teams stayed strong until the very end.

Barcelona didn’t play their most aggressive game that night, most likely saving up for their spectacular Tuesday night win over Milan in the Champions League, but seeing the great game played at Camp Nou was an awe inspiring experience in itself. As the team progresses further into the Champions League Season it will be exciting to see their games from a European perspective. 

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