Monday, July 12, 2010

Futbol in Peru

Or soccer for the gringos reading this. (Also, I don't know why the first section of this is underlined and I don't have the patience to try to figure it out...)

Before you start reading this you need to do a few things for me. First, download the songs "Wake Waka" and "Wavin' Flag" and put them on repeat. These are the official songs of the World Cup and are played constantly here. Second, you need to declare allegiance with one of the futbol teams that play out of Lima. Either Universatario, or "La U", or Alianza. Choose now, and choose wisely, because this will determine your friends and whether or not you can walk down certain streets.

For the record: Go Alianza.

Saturday afternoon, we embarked on a potentially dangerous endeavor. A group of PCTs headed to Lima to watch "The Classic" between La U and Alianza. This is the biggest rivalry and is comparable to the Packers and Vikings or Brewers and Cubs... but with soccer hooligans.

A lot of people in our group were proudly wearing jerseys for La U and while we were walking to the game a concerned shop owner came out and told the fans of La U to cover up their jerseys and change our route. At that moment, a huge group of Alianza fans started marching down the street, yelling and singing team songs followed by armored police vehicles. The fans of La U promptly covered their jerseys and we took a different route.

Entering the stadium, the Alianza and La U fans were split by two fences, a ditch, and hundreds of police officers. The pre-game celebration was insane. Our group had seats in La U's section and they were also the home crowd. Before the game, there was confetti, streamers, smoke cannons, and balloons. The field and the Alianza goal were covered in streamers and no one even tried to clean it up. Very different then in the States.

The game was alright, though the reason why Peru didn't have a World Cup team was apparent.

When I arrived home my family was celebrating the Alianza win. I headed to bed at 10:30 but the party continued until two.

Part of our group of gringos before the game
The pre-game celebration
Huge, dusty La U banners were passed back and forth

On Sunday, a group of PCTs gathered to watch the World Cup final. Peruvians (and PCTs) were overwhelmingly in support of Spain but I followed my roots and cheered for Holland. Unfortunately, this did not work out too well.

Supporters of the "Orange Machine" before the game!

Team Holland after the game.

After the devastating loss, we headed back to Chacrasana for a friendly game of soccer. While we were warming up, a group of Peruvian guys came up to the field and we challenged them to a game. The gringos did okay and only lost 3 to 1 when the game was called due to darkness.

Futbol is as big in Peru as you probably expect. When we asked our youth group what they would like to do they all said that they wanted to play soccer. We were able to develop a game that combined soccer and geography and they loved it.

Youth Group

I hope you've enjoyed "Waka Waka" and "Wavin' Flag". And for those of you who decided to support La U - we may need to re-evaluate our friendship.

And if you're supporting Alianza - we're now friends for life.

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