Back when I first took one of my earliest trips to Latin America…
To a city called Xela, Guatemala as you can read about here…
Near the end of my trip, there was a lot of activity near the more touristy area of the city.
With lots of bars open and lots of people flooding in to watch some soccer!
Well, you can see a photo I took of the time here….
And they had a little musical performance by this guy here that I took a photo of.
His music sucked but it was fine after a few beers from what I remember.
I was watching this soccer game between Argentina and Germany.
And I thought everyone in the crowd would be for Argentina!
After all, Argentina is a Latin country and so is Guatemala.
Well, to my surprise, it felt like a majority of people there were for Germany.
All because of the perception among some Latinos that Argentines are very arrogant and not likeable.
That they think of themselves as European and better than most Latin Americans.
Which this video of a few Argentines acting very rudely in Mexico City recently as you can see here didn’t help those matters…
But either way…
That was one of my first introductions to sports in Latin America and how excited people can get for it…
Enjoying Sports in Cochabamba, Bolivia
Later, I spent a few months in a Bolivian city called Cochabamba…
As you can read about here.
And, in my experience, Cochabamba definitely took soccer more seriously than Xela ever did.
Because in the city, they had this huge screen available playing all of the soccer matches between different Latin American countries.
I think the event was Copa America, if I remember right.
Of course, being in Bolivia at the time, we never had a very excited crowd during these public events…
As the Bolivian team kept getting its ass kicked.
Even worse when they got its ass kicked by Chile of all countries – a country some Bolivians hold a grudge against for reasons like here.
At least from what I saw.
Well, either way, it was a fun event to attend.
As there were tons of people who would show up to this big screen to sit down, eat some popcorn and watch.
But perhaps not as entertaining as the next scenario…
“The Colombians Stole My Shoe!”
This story in particular below is a little bit fuzzy based on my memory but from what I believe happened based on what I remember…
There was a big soccer match in a Colombian city called Barranquilla.
A city I lived in for about 7 months.
The game was between the soccer team of Barranquilla and the soccer team of another Colombian city.
Well, there were two other Americans of about my age that went to this soccer match.
But one of them – a guy let’s call Nick – was wearing the soccer shirt of the opposing team if I remember right.
Because of the girl he was dating who happened to be from there.
Well, as you can imagine, that didn’t go over so well…
At some point during the game or after it ended..
They got into a heated situation with some local Colombians in the area.
And through a bit of a physical confrontation with one of them…
Somehow Nick lost his shoe – as he was kicking one guy who was on him, the shoe came off basically.
Well, Nick and the other American guy got out of there in one piece – all fine for the most part.
Which, from what I remember, Nick wasn’t the strongest guy – a bit skinny.
But the other guy he had with him – someone let’s call Rich – definitely was a little more muscular and ready to fend off angry Colombian sports fans.
Either way, they got out of there and definitely had a fun story to remember.
A Beer at a Tienda
Well, I’m not as brave as Nick, I guess you can say…
I never decided to wear the opposing team’s shirt.
I was always a Junior de Barranquilla fan!
Which is the name of the soccer team for Barranquilla.
As you can see here, this is the sports shirt for Junior de Barranquilla.
I bought it for like maybe 5 bucks or less in the street in Barranquilla.
During my time there, I also had plenty of fun enjoying soccer games between different Colombian teams.
Almost always at local tiendas with some beer with my Colombian girlfriend at the time and her friends.
Usually around her neighborhood – which wasn’t the safest area of the town.
But had plenty of fun places to watch some games with folks.
Which, in Barranquilla, that’s how I’d recommend you do it.
Visiting the stadium can be fun.
But it’s just as fine to visit some cheap tienda – a little store that sells beer and snacks…
And sit down to watch a game with some friends or whoever.
Make sure to get your beer, some salchipapa....
And, well, the Colombians will insist on their aguardiente...
Not the best thing to drink but it works.
So why am I mentioning all of this?
Well, first, it’s obvious to me after enough time down here that everybody hates the Argentine team.
It’s like Latin America vs Argentina almost – nobody wants Argentina to win a game just to stick it to them!
But more than that…
It can be a great way to really meet new people down here.
And to just get out of the house and enjoy some local event.
Which is important for me – because sometimes I look for local events to see while living down here…
And you come across the usual boring ones – like yoga events or something..
Nothing against yoga but not for me personally.
The excitement and fun of a soccer game can be great though.
So if you are ever down here…
Especially during the Copa America or the World Cup…
Then you can have a fun time for sure.
Though between Mexico or South America (Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina, etc….)
I’d say South America, generally speaking, was always more fun to enjoy the sport of soccer than Mexico has been.
Just been my experience anyway.
More lively perhaps down there.
Anyway, that’s the main point of this article – to go into how these soccer events can often be very fun events and a great way to meet people or have a drink with friends.
Got any experiences or questions relevant to this topic?
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