This morning like most others we are all slowly doing our own thing. Brett and Ryan have gone down to the ticketing center at the Brooklyn mall in hopes of securing some tickets to today’s Denmark/ Netherlands game at the flagship stadium in Jo-burg, Soccer City. While Jim and Corey lay in their rooms, Clint and German type on their computers, I write.
The tickets we ended up with cost us about $35 each. To put this in perspective, the seats we ended up in would have cost about double that for an MLS match and hundreds more for any of the other major league sports in the states. This, I think, says a lot about the affordability of great seats in MLS and just how great the cost was for us to see a World Cup match on level 1 at about the top of the penalty area!
So the scene inside the stadium here in Pretoria was fantastic with the drums and flags, dancing and singing, and of courses, the vuvuzelas. As a little side note, I was chatting with my friend, and fellow Fire volunteer, Jenn Jarmula and she had mentioned that the vuvuzela is a bit much for those of you back home. Now I realize this might not ease the nightmares of swarming African killer bees, inside the stadiums it is not at all like on the TV. The group of Ghana supporters next to us were actually using them as musical instruments and blowing them in rhythm in such a way that the different horns complimented one another and was, to me at least, rather entertaining. However, I have also watched the games on television and it would appear that every single horn being blown at any one time is picked up by the broadcast. Sorry about that! It really isn’t as bad as it might seem.
So as we sit and watch the game we have noticed that there is the usual 10 ft space between the stands and the field boards but there is no gate blocking the end of the steps of our row. Not only is there no one really guarding this space between the field and the stands, there are Ghana fans doing a sort of conga dance in it. It’s halftime so I look to German and give him the “you wanna go down there” head point and eyebrow raise, to which he responds as I thought he would with the “hell yeah!” facial expression head nod. Armed with smiles, our cameras, and a fearless sense of adventure we ran down the aisle and dipped into the river of drums and song. After a few minutes we the 2nd half begins and we all return to our seats. Our seats are in an area just a row or two above a section of fans that are mostly women dressed in gowns, scarves and headdresses of the most brilliant reds, yellows, blacks and greens. They sang and danced and clapped without pause for the entire game as I stood in awe of what I was so lucky to be a part of. The Ghana attack is moving toward the goal directly in front of us so every attempt at goal has an added sense of electricity. With each charge up the field toward goal, in this scoreless match, the Ghana fans and us as well become a little more rabid. The whistle blows and a Serbian defender is called for a handball in the box- penalty kick. From where we sat it looked as though it was a poor tackle from the Ghana attacker so hearing the whistle was not a surprise but seeing the referee point to the spot made us think that perhaps Serbia had just been served a cold, stale portion of bad luck. But that’s the game and the kick is taken, goal scored and we witnessed this little stadium split at the seams.