South American soccer fans like flares, riots

Big Picture dad was in Santiago, Chile last week and went to a soccer game. He tells the tale aided by some photos.

My friend’s favorite soccer team played a semi-final game last night at their National Stadium in Santiago. Fearing fights and damage to the stadium — from the home fans! — the place was filled with cops in full riot gear. Fans for each team were separated by police trucks and fences. These photos show the home team’s end zone, packed with fans. The team is La Universidad de Chile, known affectionately by their fans as The U. By the way, the rest of the stadium was essentially empty.

In the first photo you can see the cops in riot gear. Also note that the track is covered with plywood, to protect it from flares that the fans throw.

In the second photo, the “U” was made with flares that the fans organize on their own. What you can’t see are the fans singing and chanting the entire game. Very, very cool. (The home team lost — but I was lucky enough to have to leave early and miss the inevitable damage to the stadium.) To say soccer fans in Chile are passionate is the understatement of the year.

[Correction: A terrible error was made in yesterday’s story of soccer in South America. The U is the University of Chile, not the University of Santiago. Our apologies. Anything to prevent these passionate U fans from coming here and messing with us.]


13 years erased! One fan’s experience

Big Picture correspondent and long-time homie, Sam Marthinsen, who’s a senior infielder for the Lewis and Clark University baseball team in Portland and will play professionally this summer in Israel, was at the Warriors’ clinching victory over the Blazers.

His words speak in exclamation points…

FUCK! That was the first thought that flashed through my mind after the second alley-oop from Dan Dickau to Travis Outlaw was flushed down within 30 seconds. What did I do? I jinxed us by sending text messages to all my friends bragging about being on site for the first Warrior playoff season in 13 years. Maybe this knee-jerk reaction was a result of my being an ultra-superstitious sports fan or more likely it is a result of the Warriors teasing me for about 13 years.

I’ll be honest, I don’t really remember the last time the W’s were playing in late April or May. I have always been a baseball fan and when I was 10-years old I was much more interested on whether the baseball season was going to happen. So now, as my team lay on the brink of a postseason with the most dominant team in basketball, all I could think was that they were teasing me again. Luckily those two dunks happened with about 1:30 left in the game and it only brought the Blazers within nine. And Matt Barnes silenced the Portland crowd with a 3 pointer about five seconds later.

That left me to revel in the satisfaction in knowing that the NBA season was not over after 82 games, and that there was still hope of a title.

The Warriors have been a model of mediocrity for many years now and few know it better than the Golden State fans, and yet, every year, every game even we still beg and plead with our beloved Ws to put up Ws. This year seemed no different for a while until a strange thing happened: we started winning. Whether it was the monstrous trade that got rid of the worst third pick in NBA history, or that our star point guard and two-guard were finally playing, healthy, together. Either way the Ws started piling up and after being dead in the water we sat in a position to do what no other Warrior team has done in 13 years: reach the post season. To be honest I had no idea that their last game was in Portland until we got one game up on the Clips and I was checking out who our final games were against. I’ll be honest again: I filled the cup when I realized I could go to the game.

The anticipation building up to the game was harder to deal with than the game itself. I play baseball and I love baseball and I found myself hoping practice would end so I could go to this game. This was history, this was satisfaction, this was redemption… but in the back of my mind: this is what always happens. Regardless of that little voice I still was determined to will the W’s to a playoff berth. Hell, Lewis and Clark hadn’t lost a home game all year and I wasn’t about to start believing that the team I was rooting for was going to lose. Well, as we piled into the car and the hail started pounding our windshield like how a JRich three pounds the bottom of the net, we all anticipated an ending we had been waiting for since we started liking the Warriors (Yes, it was hailing in Portland on April 18, what the fuck is wrong with this place?).

When we got to the arena, well the game was already out of hand. We missed the first 10 minutes and it was never closer than when Outlaw had those two dunks the entire time we were there. We weren’t alone. After the game Golden State fans flocked to the visitors bench and tunnel area; we took up about two full sections. These fans had come out to see one thing, and a sign someone was carrying told the whole story: 13 years of heartache ends TONIGHT!!!!!

Before I go I just wanna point out one thing: The Mavs have beaten every team in the NBA this year… except one. Guess who? That’s right. The W’s.

-Sam M. #5