Friday, May 30

Football in Brazil..The Passion

Now that I have explained the 'what time are you?', I will now proceed to illustrate the passion of the fans.
By nature, Brazilians are very passionate people. They are exhuberant, loud, exagerated, and don't go unnoticed. Latin blood. Sometimes I find that they border on bad Mexican soap opera behaviour (especially the women, but that is another blog entry..).
Every year,out of the twenty teams competing in the Brazilian championship league,the top four teams will go on to the Libertadors Cup( Latin America's version of the UEFA championship) the bottom four teams will be demoted to the second division.Last season, the local favorite, Flamengo was threatened to be demoted to the second division. Halfway through the season, they were hovering between 16th and 18th position.
But something happened. The Flamengo fans didn't give up. They could have just abandoned their team and let them drift into Serie B inferno.They didn't. They filled the Maracana stadium for every home game. People would bring statues of Saint Judas and Saint George to the stadium, to pray to a higher power to bring their team back up from the gates of hell. They yelled, chanted, and put their faith behind the team. It was something that I have never seen in my life. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the fans here make the Red Mile in Calgary look like a Boy Scout jamboree. Post game fights can happen, but nothing to the scale of the British hooligans.
On the day of the game, fans wear the team jersey. IF the game is sold out, it is shown on TV. Needless to say, when the game is on, the outside world is inexistent to the supporters. Passion for the team runs so high that cases of heart attacks increase during televised football games.
Support for Flamengo was so intense, that the team managed to finish the season in second place, behind Sao Paulo. You will notice that there is no player on the Flamengo team using the number 12 jersey. The number 12 jersey belongs to the fans. The fans are considered the 12th player on the field.
When World Cup comes around, all supporters join together to support the national team AKA the 'Selecao'..the selection. The country literally stops when Brazil plays.

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