Monday, December 13, 2010

Con L, con I, con G, con A, LIGA CAMPEÓN!

One of the most unexpected (well, for me anyway) developments of our time in Quito was becoming fans of actual, legit, not-American fútbol. Or to be more specific, fans of Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Ecuador, or la Liga for short - Quito's team, and also pretty damn good. We cheered them on to some semi-impressive level of finals in a championship tournament that took place between Latin American teams (hey, this fan-ship came as a bit of a surprise to me too) before they lost in I believe the quarter-finals while we were in Cuenca (and no, it was NOT because I forgot my jersey). But I think they recently won a game somewhere that was kind of a big deal. Maybe. Hey, here are some pictures!
Why doesn't soccer in the US reach the same kind of fan-frenzied atmosphere? Firecodes.
"Orgullo" - pride.
Yes, we all ended up buying jerseys off the street.
I wish I could describe the atmosphere of a game. We sat in bajo sur, or the section that Ben's host family warned us not to sit in. Apparently we were either going to get arrested or end up in the hospital, but thankfully neither came to pass. Instead, we were right beside the ligistas, the super-crazy dedicated fans who collect money for their tickets 10¢ at a time before the games, literally. Painted and all in white, they play giant marching-band style drums THE ENTIRE TIME. Without a break. And the cheers are more like songs, each with a distinct rhythm and melody. (Other reason the US will never be able to celebrate fútbol like this - general lack of internal rhythm.) For the entire game, everyone is on their feet jumping/dancing/swaying (depending on your level of intoxication) and when they score, WOW, what incredible energy. That is to say, WOW, I got beer spilled on my so many times, considering that la Liga won the first game I saw 6-1. That's a lot of beer-flinging.

Oh hey, a video!

(okay, well, it didn't load, but I'll try again soon)

One last fun story - at our second game, Michael, Audrey and I were approached by a man filming for a local TV station. He was asking fans to sing some of the cheers to use as teasers for advertising for games. The only one we even partially knew, of course, was the cheer fans sing after Liga scores. (Hoya Blue could learn a thing or two about fan discipline.) At that point, I only knew the ending part when each letter is called out, so before we sang it, a few Ecuadorians taught us the lyrics while the camera guy filmed. It took 30 seconds tops before we were ready to record it. Michael asked him when they were going to use the footage, and was the only one to see our 15 seconds of fame. Apparently, they first played the segment of us being taught the lyrics, followed by the caption, "20 minutes later..." before showing us singing the cheer correctly. Harumph. Try learning the Georgetown fight song and we'll see who's laughing.

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