Courtesy of Sammic, Athena and I had the rare opportunity to attend a Real Sociedad (THE fútbol team of Gipuzkoa) match against their rivals, Osasuna (Pamplona). You’d think in a small province in Basque country, a local fútbol match would draw in a decent crowd, but a full house? Note the spectators sitting on the stairs and above the nose-bleed seats. There are some hardcore fútbol fans out here, Martín included!
This does not happen often enough in the U.S. because not only is fútbol under-appreciated, but the talent level is not even comparable to that of Europe and South America. Even when I watched my co-stages and chefs play their weekly friendly, I was impressed with the level of play.
The Real Sociedad games attract fans of all ages. They are extremely enthusiastic, frequently jumping from their seats and shouting at the referees or overreacting to anything and everything. The spirit is enlivening and contagious. You’d think you were watching a Real Madrid or Barça match. I can’t even fathom what the atmosphere is like at one of those. Five minutes in, Athena and I found ourselves behaving as the locals do, shouting and hand-gesturing about the previous play. Hostia! Besides the green tea cookies I whipped out of my bag at halftime , we fit right in with the rest. In the end, Real picked up the win with a score of 1-0. Woohoo!
The love of the game here is unrivaled and I wish it existed back home. In every bar and restaurant, including the kitchen of Restaurante Martín Berasatégui, there is always fútbol on the tele. Garrote!