What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than with a thousand other incredibly passionate Boca fans at La Bombonera? The stadium is rated number one to experience a soccer match and it sure does live up to its name! It isn’t just the thrill of watching Boca Juniors play, it’s the experience of being one with the fans and the team that makes it a fulfilling experience. What made it even more exciting was heading to La Bombonera with several other volunteers from Voluntario Global who themselves had never experienced an Argentinian soccer match. We wanted the complete experience and we sure did with these 5 steps!
Getting a ticket was perhaps the only challenging process. Boca Juniors played their first home game of the season and naturally, hunting for tickets was no easy process. After days of searching online but to no avail, we managed to get tickets from a hostel nearby. They were a little pricey but it was most certainly worth every cent! My advice, splurge on the tickets because this is truly a once in a lifetime experience. Do be sure to check that you get your tickets from a reliable source. You wouldn’t want to head down to La Bombonera and find yourself with an invalid ticket.
The experience wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t look the part! You can most certainly get your Boca jerseys or T-shirts at the stadium itself, though it would be best to get them a day or two before game day. Or you could get the official jerseys from the Nike store! I would recommend heading down to cross streets of Juramento and Cabildo where the streets are lined with all the sports outlets so you can take your pick. Take the subte (subway) to Juramento and the outlets are at the foot of the subte exit. Rest assure you would fit right in with the rest of the fans in a Boca shirt. If you haven’t the time to get a shirt, be sure you’re in Boca colours. You can never go wrong with blue and yellow.
We certainly did our pregame the Argentinian way! Beers, fernet and of course Boca songs and cheers blasting through the speakers. There really is no better way to get into the spirit of a game. I learnt a cheer or two before heading to the game and it really got me hyped up and into the fighting spirit!
4. Cheering, Swearing and Everything in-Between
We finally get to the stadium and there were at least 3 security checks before actually entering the stadium. It seemed rather solemn walking to the stadium after getting off the bus, almost as though we were going to war. Clearing the security checks took all of 5 minutes and just like that we were off into the stadium. The second you take the stairs to get to the stands, you can hear the hustle and bustle of fans finding their seats or simply getting a spot to get a great view of the pitch.
Anticipation and excitement built as we watched the large digital clock above the field countdown the minutes to the game. When the Boca Juniors stepped onto the pitch, in an instant, every Boca fan in sight rose to their feet. Almost instantaneously the drums started playing and every single fan broke out into a Boca song. It was almost magical how united the Boca fans were. What surprised me even more was how loyal these fans were. With each bad pass or missed goal, they cheered even louder and jumped even higher in support of their team. Every few minutes, the fans, in unison, would start a new cheer or song complete with hand gestures. You can’t help but join in and be a part of what it means to be a fan.
5. Post Match
Get yourself a good ol steak right after the match! Or if you can’t wait to sit yourself down at a restaurant, grab a choripan on your way out of La Bombonera. The night is only complete with an Argentinian feast! The added bonus is that you wouldn’t have to worry about restaurants closing early. Dinner at 11pm might sound a little crazy but restaurants in the city serve dinner till the wee hours of the morning. So grab yourselves a table and you’d find yourself talking about the best and perhaps the worst moments in the match.
Well as the saying goes, the Argentinian experience is never complete without watching a soccer game. I guess that’s just one more thing off my bucket list now! If you’re in the city and you’re thinking about watching a game, the answer is always si, hacelo!