Barcelona has one of the best soccer teams in the world, and one of the best players (Messi in case you're wondering). So how could we not go to a match at Camp Nou.
Last fall I'd read about how to get tickets for a game.
All the seats are owned by season ticket holders. If someone decides to not go to a game, he releases his seat through the football club who resells it. Provided he released his seat more than 72 hours before the game, he gets 50% of the purchase price. If he released the seat within 72 hours, the purchase price can only cover his annual membership fee.
I never read anything about the owner just selling his ticket on his own and keeping 100% of the purchase price, but clearly, there's something in this system that prevents it, or highly discourages it because tickets are actually resold through the football club.
So, tickets can become available at any time. The club offers these released tickets months before the match, and then again within a week or so of the match. Of course, this is all on-line. (How technology has changed things!)
La Liga's schedule is known for the season, but only who plays who, and where each week. The actual date and time of each match is only announced a few days or a week before the match. So a weekend game might be Saturday, or Sunday, or maybe even Monday.
We knew we wanted to try to go to a game, but we didn't want to just wait until a few days before a match to see if we could get tickets in case we couldn't. So last fall when the first round of tickets were released, we pounced.
We quickly discovered that the seats that get released are mostly single seats. There might be some pairs, but for the most part there were a bunch of random single seats scattered throughout the stadium. We found four seats for a game -- all in a row one behind the other. The kids agreed they could sit by themselves and in between strangers just to see Messi.
We headed to the stadium and took our seats.
|Meaghan and Kerry in front of me...|
|...and Eamon behind me.|
As the fans came, we realized that we were not the only people sitting separately.
But I have to say, the release of the tickets was odd. Meaghan's seat was smack dab in the middle of one fellow's seats. She sat between him, and his son and son's friend. We would have offered to change - normal to do at home - but neither the boy nor his dad seemed to care and they didn't even speak during the game. Maybe because the boy had a friend with him? Who knows. Anyway, Meaghan was quite delighted though because the boy was about her age and cuter than anything. Kerry snuck a shot capturing Meaghan's delight with the situation.
|It's not everyday you get to sit next to a cute Catalan boy.|
The crowd is so very different than what we've become used to at sporting events in North America. There's no rock concert atmosphere. No big half-time show. No gimmicks to draw in the fans. Just the game.
After a goal, there's no big announcement, and no replays. A little sign of plain lights announces GOOOOOL, and then name of who scored the goal. Once. And that's it in the moments after a goal.
Messi scored his 500th professional goal at our game. No mention at all that this goal was significant. Not one word. It could just as easily have been any player scoring any goal.
|Still recognizably Messi - or at least his number.|
He's not cheering. He's outraged at the call. He jumped up. Some beautiful r sounds rolled off his tongue while he undoubtedly swore a little. He stood to drive home his outrage.
A week later, Dad and my sister, Sharla, were with us in Barcelona. Another match was scheduled and tickets were available. My sister never turns down any sporting event, ever. I'm not certain Dad was keen to go, but she worked some magic and he agreed. So we again we went!
Like last time, we all sat scattered around a section. Eamon and Dad sat together a bit down from the rest of us. Sharla and Meaghan sat together. Kerry and I were singles with one sitting behind Sharla and Meaghan and one in front.
|Eamon and Grandpa|
My original ticket was in among a group of three, but they spoke good enough English that when I offered to trade seats so they could sit together they agreed. I got the impression though that this was an odd offer to be made.
For this second game, Barça won. Suarez scored 4 goals for the second game in a row. Still no public announcement of this feat. I guess true fans don't need announcements.
|Now that's a win.|
We did notice in this second game that the fans are much less outraged when their team is winning so we didn't hear any loud, yet beautiful rolling r sounds during this game.
Eamon was mighty pleased with this result. We've been to a handful of sporting events throughout our travels and this was the first time the home team actually won. It was a great way to end our time in Barcelona.