Saturday night we went to the Spain-Sweden soccer match at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. They’re in the classification stage for Eurocopa 2008 and Spain lost the previous faceoff 0-2 in Sweden. In an effort to ensure a full stadium and reap every benefit possible from the home field advantage, the government decided to keep the game tickets as cheap as possible. It worked – the stadium was packed (at just 17€ that’s not a surprise), the crowd was energized, and the Spaniards pulled off a 3-0 victory. For me one of the highlights was the playing of the Spanish national anthem. Sports-infused Spanish patriotism was in full force and it really was an impressive sight – the singing, the flags, the cheers. (Not the best camera work, I know.)
I’ve always been amazed that the lack of words doesn’t damper the party. But after the scene at the soccer game (and especially after seeing the massive pre-game botellon [street drinking parties]) I’ve decided that the lack of words actually lets people sing out with more energy and complete abandon. Thinking of the Star Spangled Banner, I never sing with all my gusto. Who can hit that high “free” note anyway? If all I had to sing was, “lalalalala,” I would probably just let myself go.