Sunday, April 10, 2011


So last week I went to my first Romanian football game. The attire-PURPLE, Timisoara's color. The weather-PERFECT. And the amount of new Romanian words I learned-A LOT! It was such an amazing experience I even recorded some video. But lets back up, shall we?

I went to the game with one of my friends (and fellow English teacher) Ildiko and her husband. We also met up with some other teachers and Vali. The seats were fantastic, right in the middle of the field and high enough up so that we could see perfectly.  The opponant was a team from Bucharest, which is one of Timisoara's biggest rivals so I knew it would be a good (at least exciting) game.

We arrived a few hours early to get good sits and munched on sandwiches, sunflower seeds and warm cola. They gave me some history on the rivalry between the teams and tried to teach me some of the chants and songs, which I realized quickly were none to kind. Haha. Fun Fact-the team song is sung to the music from "Yellow Submarine" which was fun and easier for me to remember.
Rockin' the purple.

Ildiko and I ready for the game!
 Now I knew Europeans loved soccer-and I knew that games could get a little crazy but I wasn't expecting anything that happened over the next two hours. First off, there was a section of the stadium reserved for Bucharest fans-literally we weren't even allowed to sit with them because fights would start. And to make it even more exciting, they didn't even let the Bucharest fans in the stadium until the last minute to keep the peace. That is when the trash talking started and I was learning one new word after the next! It was a vocabulary lesson unlike anything I ever had in PC training. :)
This basically reads "From Sibiu we come for POLI because we love her! Go Poli!" (Sibiu is 6 hours by train)

I want this jersey!

Vali ready for a good match! Complete with ciggy
I need to invest in one of these...

Game Time!
   Now there is a group of die-hard fans that follow Poli Timisoara everywhere they play in the country, and they take up a whole section of the stadium. They are the ones that are a bit more wild than the rest, starting all the songs, yelling constantly, and even shooting off these flares. Now here is where it gets interesting. About halfway through the game this "rowdy" section starts throwing toilet paper down the stands onto the field-it actually was awesome looking.

 Then, they held up this sign that basically says, "We know that the flares are now illegal at these games but we fight for our team and we'll shoot flares for our team." And all of a sudden flares are lit everywhere. I mean all over. Fire, explosions, yelling and chanting-and the game never stops.
Toilet another soccer game apparently...

No really's on fire.

But all of a sudden, I realize-oooh my gosh..the stadium is on fire. Literally the chairs were on fire. All the toilet paper didn't help either. Before I knew it, fans are rushing to the top of the stadium, the fire truck is racing towards the fires, and riot police are running as well, complete with shields and protective wear. THE GAME JUST CONTINUES ON. I'm shocked. My American side comes out and I say to Vali, "Hey-do we need to leave the stadium? I mean...its on fire..." And he says "Oh no, the fire truck will come out, its ok. Look the game hasn't even stopped." I look to the nearest exit and realize I couldn't even get out if I wanted to.  They have sold 6,000 extra "standing tickets" because it was sold out and now there are people in every aisle, doorway, and even sitting on the top of the stadium.
See? NO way to exit. We're packed in like sardines.
 SO-I did what any panicked American would do in the situation and took out my camera to record the whole thing. When in ROMania...right? And sure enough, the fires were put out, the people returned to their drenched seats, and the game continued on as if nothing ever happened.

My recording is low quality but here is a link from YouTube. You can see it all happen here:

Best experience ever. I love my life here.

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