A Scottish football match

In the old days, there used to be wars; fought with swords and daggers and hoarse battle-cries and men looking murderously at each other from horseback. These days, the action has shifted to the playground. Wars are still fought, on football and rugby fields amidst rain, snow and mud. The men still look at each other murderously, and the spectators still cry themselves hoarse in support of their team --- welcome to British rugby and soccer.

We went to a football match between Hearts and Aberdeen some time ago, and it is an experience worth telling. Both these teams belong to the top Scottish division in soccer, and so the match promised at least a good game. It was scheduled to start at 3:00, and we went there to support Hearts!! (Direct dil se ;) Well, the real reason we were supporting Hearts was that three of our colleagues from Edinburgh (umm, not colleagues, really -- client system admin, client associate manager and project manager) were Hearts supporters. We met at 12:00 noon at a restaurant close to the Tynecastle stadium, and after some regular lunchtime 'activity' courtesy the project, followed by distribution of Hearts scarves and other memorabilia.

Before I proceed, let me tell you about how the football stands are organised here. Unlike cricket matches, the crowds are really shall-we-say, ugly, and so usually they split stands with very stern-looking strict security inbetween. Now, we had our tickets real close to the Aberdeen stand, rather on the border between the stands. Hence, we knew for certain that there was going to be action both on and off the field, and were really looking forward to it :) Before we went off, we were asked to shout and generally go wild whenever Hearts scored a goal so that we may not stand out amidst the crowd. Naah, I assured them that a Bengali does not need to be told how to behave himself in a football stadium at least!

Off we went towards the stadium. As we reached the gates, we noticed that the crowds gradually converged to the place. Walking along the footpath with a multitude of people wearing the same set of scarves as you towards a common destination was a novel experience. Security was all-around, with mounted horsemen and horse-women (yeah we did see them) guarding places... beefy guards summing you up and your ticket before letting you in... all of it seemed worth the wait once we went in.

We entered the ground. It was like suddenly bursting into a sea of humanity from beneath the water. Actually I have never been to a stadium to see a match before. So this was a very novel experience for me. We jostled and pushed our way to our seats. Well, I should not call them seats, as nobody around us was sitting and all the seats bore different kinds of shoe patterns amidst the layers of dust on them. We found our seats, and duly stood on them as everybody else. There was already a nice bit of swearing going on between the Hearts and Aberdeen fans, and we engaged ourselves in trying to decipher the rest of the messages from the abundant F-words ;)

The match kicked off. And so did the spontaneous singing of the 'Hearts song' by all the fans. It seems that each club here has its own anthem; so we could also hear a different anthem being sung by the Aberdeen fans. The level of noise suddenly rose whenever the ball came close to one of the goals, and at other times when the action on the field was somewhere between the two goals, the fans took it upon themselves to keep the action off the field going. People who might just have been in a high level corporate meeting the day before, all prim and proper, were now swearing and making gestures that would make roadside romeos go red. As the famous dialogue from Eurotrip says, "These guys have a completely different level of swearing over here". But we were all engineering college students --- it felt wonderfully at home :D

And then, sometime between all the hullaballoo, there was a goal scored. Hearts-1, Aberdeen-0. And that took things to the next level. I went mad with delight, jumped about, and put in a few choice expletives in chaste Bengali. Sanket, a friend who was with me, seemed to have taken the advice about going mad if a goal was scored to heart. So he started head-banging in a manner that might have made a hardcode rock party animal stand aside and take a lesson. But it was nothing compared to what the other junta were doing. That the Aberdeen stand right next to us had gone silent did not help matters too much. The fans here literally burst out cheering and swearing. First there was the HUGE round of claps, cheering and scarf-waving for the team. And then they attacked the Aberdeen fans with such a vitriolic combination of words, gestures, boos and caricatures that I actually saw a guy in the other stand go pale. He was the person cheering the most for Aberdeen.

At the end of the first half, the score read 3-0. And while we got some pies and some hot drink (which is best described as horse-sh**), the Aberdeen fans began to leave the stands gradually. And I learnt 3 completely new ways of saying good-bye in the little break-time. The second half went without a goal being scored. But the action was still on for all Hearts fans in this stand. And it never died until the game was over. As we came out, it seemed really nice to see so many happy faces. And the 'colleagues' were pleased, we were pleased, and so was everyone else. What more can you ask for on a Saturday?

P.S.- Don't you think this post was better than the regular 'Write an essay about a football match you went to' we used to write in school?

Comments

  1. Hehe...
    and I thought that the crowds in Eden gardens were Jungleee. :)


    Whenever I see ur posts, one thing always catches my eye
    "The Last word... Accept defeat till u see yourself dead."

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  2. Man. I so so want to see a football match -- and all I am treated to in US is their football, which incidentally has minimal use of foot!

    Great post - it felt being in stadium with ya!

    Suyog

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  3. Vivekanand, yeah, I used to think that too! But well, they (we) still are junglee!

    P.S. - It is 'never accept defeat' and not 'accept defeat'. Ok, I agree, a typo.

    Supremus, yes, you should do it once at least. The thrill of a thousand voices chanting something in full throat is something you don't get every day.

    P.S. Thanks! :)

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  4. Hey Sudipta,
    Nice to hear that u had been to a football match.. the quality of the game would be really high isn't it??

    well my TOEFL didn't got that great. I got a score range of 207-268.. I made blunders in the listening section. I scored 25 out of 30.
    Sparsh goin on here. Tonight it's the celebrity night, Euphoria is performing. Rest is fine here//

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  5. I just watched a footer match live :D

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  6. bhai i got a bad toefl range 207 to 263 .a bit disappointed specialy after i thought that i answered all RC right.hope i get 250. :)

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  7. Jeevan, the game was average... compared to what we are accustomed to see on television. I mean, it was good... but not that great.

    About your TOEFL score... it is nothing to despair about. As long as you are above the 250 watermark, nobody is bothered.

    Sajid, A footer match? Hmm.... ok, just kidding! Yeah watching on the TV is a different experience. You have to be there to live through it.

    Varun bhai, as I told Jeevan, it is nothing to despair about. As long as you are above the 250 watermark, nobody is bothered. If not, and if you have time and patience, I'd suggest that you take the test again, because you don't want to not apply to universities because of a silly TOEFL score

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  8. Hey you don't visit my blog at all. Thats bad.
    And btw it is very difficult to access your blog from within the campus. All because of your silly 'chat' in your address.. :-(

    Rest is all fine here. Only some 40 odd days remaining in this college.

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  9. hi sudip, when did you go off to Scotland. Looks like you are having fun. Haven't really seen you around. Am sure you are busy but next time you are online make sure you drop by.

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  10. Jeevan, sorry, dear... will do it just now. BTW, I know that accessing it is a problem... but there are ways to go around that firewall in the campus itself... I did that all the time as an admin :)

    Poornaa, Really really sorry... will let you know on your blog now that there is an update.

    Priyangini, sorry again... haven't visited any blog for sometime, and so have missed yours as well. I am having real fun. And will visit your place now :)

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  11. nice post
    yes, definitely better than a regular the-other-day-i-went-to-see-a-football-match essay.

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