As some of you may know, Tom had to return to the States (Texas) for a few weeks to take care of some…well…stuff (long story). While he is gone, I’m getting a taste of solo travel.
After 18 hours, 3 taxi rides, 2 bus trips, and 1 flight, I finally made it to Buenos Aires from Baños, Ecuador. Yes, you heard that right…Buenos Aires, again!
Naturally, after a long day of travel, I dropped my bags at my hostel and immediately headed out to find a bar to watch the Argentina/Switzerland fútbol game which had already begun about 20 minutes prior.
As I began walking down the street, I noticed that Buenos Aires was not as I remembered it. It was eerily quiet, there was not one car driving down the street, and I only passed one or two other people on the sidewalk.
At every corner I turned, I could hear the faint sound of a fútbol announcer repeating Messi’s name over and over again. It almost seemed as if somebody had installed citywide surround sound. There was not one TV or radio playing something other than the game. All else was quiet in the city. There were no car horns, no dump trucks, no people chatting on their cell phones.
Then finally, I arrived to Plaza Serrano. I peeped my head into the first bar I found. I saw a crowd of people dressed in baby blue and white stripes staring back at me, or so I thought they were staring at me till I saw the giant TV above the door and above my head. Unfortunately, I saw no open seats. So I politely bowed out and moved on to the next bar. I couldn’t even get my head into that one. It was so packed the door wouldn’t budge more than an inch.
Finally, I found a place to sit in the third bar, although it was quite awkward walking in late. No one was talking during the game and everyone stared intensely at the TV. It remained that way till Argentina scored their first and only goal in the final two minutes of overtime to win the game, at which point the entire restaurant (and city so it seemed) erupted in cheers.
After the game, as I made my way back to my hostel, the city slowly came back to life. People filtered out of the bars and restaurants to head back to work. Cars appeared on the streets, and I could hear the typical heartbeat of the city begin to pump again. This was the Buenos Aires I knew.
Fútbol: The Perfect Spectator Sport For Women
In the US, we are beginning to come around. Although I am not at home for it, I hear that this year’s World Cup is (or at least was till last Tuesday) wildly popular back in the States.
With the US no longer in the running for the Cup, you may be tempted to feign in your Copa Munidal enthusiasm. Don’t!
I, too, used to flip past fútbol games on TV. But since I have been travelling, I have seen first hand that the whole world is in love with this sport, so I figured there must be something to it. Then it hit me; fútbol is the perfect sport for women (wives and moms in particular) and since, “happy wife, makes happy life,” it is therefore the perfect sport for everyone else too.
So why is this sport so perfect for women? I’ll tell you.
Fútbol has no time outs and no commercials, except during a short 15-minute half time break. It’s a constant stream of ongoing play (except when the players are flopping). And they often allow for ties, so except in the later rounds of tournaments, a game starts and ends in 2 hours or less. There are no 8-hour ball games (eh hem…baseball).
Good For The Waistline
I’ve noticed down here in South America, that with no commercial breaks and the constant possibility that at any moment a goal could be scored, people don’t constantly get up to refill their snacks. In fact, except for maybe some beer, I rarely see locals down here eating during a game, unlike American sports that are pretty much synonymous with nachos, chicken wings, peanuts, and cracker jacks.
Therefore, fútbol is better for your waistline than football.
Good For The Marriage
And as for your marriage, you can expect fewer fights. When hubby says he’ll go shopping with you, mow the lawn, or ( fill in the blank ) “after the game,” this literally means in 2 hours or less! There is a definite time limit.
Furthermore, your husband loves to have you enjoy the things he enjoys with him. It might do absolutely nothing to our relationship bank as women to sit silently side-by-side on the couch with our mate, but to him, it makes a huge deposit.
When I’m watching any sport with Tom, he always wants me there with him without being preoccupied by something else. To me, washing the dishes, checking email, and vacuuming can all be done simultaneous with “watching the game.” But Tom gets agitated. He wants me sitting down, paying attention, and making grunts and cheers right along with him. It’s how he interacts with his buddies, why wouldn’t it be the way he wants to interact with his wife?
Since fútbol games are relatively short, I can afford to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with my man and still have time to do whatever I want to do in the rest of my day. Win, win.
In fact, while traveling, Tom and I have been able to watch a game and still have time to do other such things as repelling down waterfalls, tasting Ecuadorian coffee, or taking a 4-hour hike in the same day. This would never happen if we were watching American football (average game length of 3 hours and 11 minutes), or baseball (average length of 3 hours and the longest being over 8 hours!). Basketball might work, although the average NBA game still lasts 2.5 hours.
Good For Your Kids
Lastly, if you’re a mom, you get the added benefit that a fútbol obsession is good for your kids. It’s a global sport. And in case you haven’t heard, Americans have quite the reputation for living in an American bubble. We only border two other countries (one of which has a culture almost identical to ours). Furthermore, most major entertainment comes from America. So we eat, sleep, breathe, and consume American culture. Fútbol, however, is a world sport and one of the few major non-American sources of entertainment.
Encouraging your kids to watch the sport will inevitably lead to them having role models from all over the world. What a great way to educate your kids, when they come to you and ask “mommy, where’s Ghana?”
Keep Up The Fútbol Obsession!
So make the World Cup the start to your new sport love affair with fútbol. It’s easy to jump right into. You don’t have to understand the strategy to enjoy watching it, and if you listen to a channel with Spanish-speaking commentators, I promise that even the most boring part of the game will sound like enthralling, nonstop action.
Make things even more interesting and bet a wager for how long the announcer can say “gooooooaaaaaallllll” without stopping to take a breath.
I know the US is now out, but don’t stop watching the World Cup. If you need a team to cheer for, join me in rooting for Argentina! They play against the Netherlands this coming Wednesday, July 9th!
Viva fútbol! Viva Argentina!
Oh, and if you are still not convinced, or if you just want a good laugh. Check out this video of a very passionate River Plate (Argentinian team) fútbol fan. Hilarious. Watch it all the way through...it only gets better as it goes.
I'm Jaime. My husband is Tom. Suburbanites, backpackers, and expats...we've been them all!