I think you all know that my husband is a soccer extremist fanatic. He follows all the leagues, both locally and internationally and it is easy to see that this is his passion. Me – I like a vast genre of things, my interests run deep and wide, and I can enjoy a wide array of activities. My husband? No, just the soccer. Ok, yes there’s the running but for the most part, it’s soccer. Naturally he wants his children, particulary his son, to share this passion with him. We are all subjected to watching soccer at every opportunity, his most favourite thing to do with the kids is to kick a ball outside, he has already inquired about soccer coaching for Liam (and Hannah because she refuses to be left out) to start in the Spring. Soccer is his thing.
For the longest time, he has been nagging me to take the kids to watch a local game at the stadium. Pre-kids, we would go to the stadium often. I really do enjoy the excitement, camaraderie and overall craziness of watching live sport with likeminded people. I can easily watch a 90 minute game of soccer live and enjoy it immensely, so I agreed that it would be a fun outing for the kids. It was a big game, the Soweto Derby – Orlando Pirates versus Kaizer Chiefs – two of the biggest rivaling teams in the PSL.
From the moment we arrived at Soccer City, Soweto, the vibe was evident. I had schooled the kids on the levels of noise to expect and the general mayhem that would ensue but I still think they were shocked at the scene that greeted them!
Can I just say that there’s something about Black people that I just love love love when it comes to sport.. and other things of course. But the intensity with which they celebrate, the complete outpouring of themselves for the teams they support… sjoe! I’ve been to many rugby games and while that vibe is also great, local soccer… guys.. it’s in a league of its own. The spirit is contagious, hugging complete strangers around you when your team scores, dancing in your seat while the supporters on the line lead us all in song, blowing on your vuvuzela in tune to the leader, making different hand gestures in tune to the music – all as one body, in unison… it’s like the Mexican Wave x 100000!!! I get goose pimples EVERY TIME I go to a local game, especially a game of this importance and size. The kids were caught up in the excitement for all of 15 minutes before they were bored. So we fed them. Every time a vendor walked passed, they called him over. They even called the camera guy over and were very disappointed when they realized he was only offering to take their picture.
HIGHLIGHT of the game: there was a man with a PIG’s HEAD… yes, a whole big freshly slaughtered pig’s head in a see through plastic bag. He came up to Hannah and tapped her on the shoulder, she turned around and I jumped on her behalf. She politely said “no thanks” like she does when a street vendor stops us at the robot to sell us something. We were highly amused! Only in Africa hey.
Ok the actual HIGHLIGHT of the game was Pirates winning. You must understand that my husband supports Arsenal. He has become accustomed to losing. So there was much jubilation.
At R40 a ticket, it was a great experience and a fun outing for the family. I still think I’ll wait for the kids to be older to do this on the regular – I don’t know that all that noise and craziness every weekend is good for them, or me for that matter, but to see the pride on Hubby’s face as he took turns with the kids on his shoulders was motivation enough.
On days like these, I really love South Africa.