Confession: I lied. I’ll share the weekend in Paris soon enough, but this is just too important. Friday night was the final game of the Copa del Rey in which Barcelona went up against Athletic de Bilbao. You might be saying to yourself, “alright, there was a soccer game in Spain. Those happen all the time.” You’d be right, but there’s some extra political significance thrown in because of the teams that were playing. A friend suggested this article to explain it a bit better. Basically, people from Barcelona are Catalans and those from Bilbao are Basques (both named for the region and language used there), so it was kind of crazy that these two very distinct regions of Spain were playing against each other in the KING’S Cup. Each has a high sense of pride for its own region in comparison to its feeling of being part of the country, as a whole. At least, that’s what I have gathered. You’re allowed to form your own opinions!
What I wanted to share was our blind American participation in one of the biggest soccer games that Spain has to offer. Honestly, how we didn’t find out that this game was happening until the day of, I’ll never know.
Because the tent area was so crowded, we actually ended up at someone’s apartment watching the game in a pretty calm setting. Even so, it was easy to see how passionate everyone was about their respective teams. I’m not big into professional sports in the states, so I can’t accurately compare the fanaticism of each country, but the energy was palpable all day long. When we got back from class, there were already people wearing jerseys, flags, scarves, and anything else that represented their team; there was plenty of drunk yelling and whistling happening around our apartment, and probably all over the city; and after the game (Barcelona won), the Athleti fans could not have looked more depressed. I kind of had to feel bad for them. It’s amazing to me how much passion and loyalty people can pour into a sport, but it’s a feeling that unites people, even in this particular situation!