Yesterday Cuso volunteers gathered for a meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel. As I headed to the restaurant for lunch after the meeting, I realized there was a commotion surrounding some particularly fit Jamaican men all wearing the same t-shirt. People were taking pictures with them. It turned out they were members of the Reggae Boyz football (soccer) team, so we got a group shot. For some reason, the players were not pleased or gracious about the photo session. Not sure what was going on there. A whole bunch of us had already secured tickets to the game last night, in which the Boyz achieved a historic win over the US. Apparently, it was a qualifying round for the World Cup.
Here’s a quote from the Observer article: “The victory marks the first in 21 outings between the two countries, including two Olympic Games Qualifiers in 1972. The USA enjoy 11 victories and nine matches have been drawn.”
We arrived early at the stadium and did some crowd-watching, which is so fascinating for me that I had to remind myself to watch the game. I know nothing about football, but I do know the US were outplayed and that the ball ended up at the US goalie’s end most of the night. I also noticed that there were a few tussles amongst the players, lots of dramatic injuries in which the guys rolled around the field for awhile then got up seemingly fine and LOTS of coaches in the bleachers. Throughout the entire game, people gave a running commentary on who was doing what right and wrong. Why don’t the coaches come into the bleachers to solicit advice? It was actually nice to have lots of commentators around because there was no announcer, no scoreboard and no clock visible anywhere, so you could not tell what was going on at all. There was no doubt when the Boyz scored a goal though. Everybody was on their feet screaming, blowing the vuvuzaelas, hugging each other and probably weeping. When they won the game? It was a religious experience, I think, for many people. And then people start to throw things in joy, bottles (all plastic, thankfully), food, etc. The vendor in front of us picked up the cover of his cooler and banged it on the seat. Then people started emptying their drinks all over the crowd, so I ended up with orange soda (I think) all over me. It was so much fun. We had to wait awhile to leave as thousands of people funnelled themselves out of the narrow aisles. And then weave our way through insane traffic jams in which it seemed like there was a debate between every single driver as to how one another should proceed. Luckily, we were walking and made it home safely (thanks for the drive Ann!).