|KFC! KFC! (this was 20 minutes before the game; the seats were full for|
On my birthday, I bought myself a ticket to an Australian soccer league game: Melbourne Victory vs. Wellington Phoenix. Heading into the game I had very little idea what to expect. The last professional soccer match I watched live was nearly three years ago: a between Turkey and the United States. I was in the nosebleeds, and it was a very unimportant game played in front of an American crowd (American soccer fans are the Eeyore of soccer fans, if Eeyore was dumb as well as unenthusiastic).
Australia did not disappoint me—my tickets were the cheapest I could find, and I still got to sit in the second row—and Australian fans definitely didn’t disappoint. From what I understand, there’s a lot of British culture underpinning Aussie culture—they drive on the left, incorporate the union jack in their flag, and have an incomprehensible appreciation for cricket. And they speak with funny accents (surely that’s a British thing!).
And—like their forebears—they know how to appreciate a good soccer match, with all the illogical fervor of true fans. They cheer and groan in all the right places. The layman fan behind me was explaining strategy to his kid will a level of competency that made me want to turn around and pump his hand as a fellow connoisseur of the Beautiful Game.
After Melbourne’s first goal, the cheering/taunting/loudmouth-competition with the Wellington fans (two sections to my right), opened up. The loudest, longest, and most widespread Melbourne cheer that involved all four sides of the field’s participation and a lot of pointing and yelling was on the topic of bestiality. However, due to the incomprehensibility of most of the shouting to American-accent trained gal like myself, I have no idea who was supposed to be shagging whose sheep under which circumstances or for what reason. It shall ever remain a mystery.
|Queuing or Coup-ing, which is worse?|
(Sidenote: I’m writing this in the beautiful Carlton Gardens, next to the fountain on the South side of the Royal Exhibition building and everyone with children in a two-mile radius has chosen to descend on me. Moreover, I think the local pigeons are going to make a move in the next few minutes. They’re coup-ing ominously. Heh.)
But my favorite cheer and, indeed, the best part of the game came early in the second half when Marco Rojas took a beautiful corner kick (fifteen meters from where I sat!). The ball bounced back out to him and he attacked the goal with speed before laying it off to his fellow player at the top of the goal box. The shot was just wide, banging against the post back again to Rojas, who easily netted it, despite the sharp angle. The crowd around me erupted and broke into this little cheer:
“Marco Rojas! Marco Rojas! Marco Rojas! He scores when he wants! He scores when he wants!”
I wonder how many beers it would take to get an American crowd of 18,600 to cheer that for a soccer player.
And now, a birthday picture!