Pretending that futbol is the same thing as football

Fall is the best time of the year in East Lansing. When the thousands of trees that decorate MSU’s historic campus change colors I actually feel bad for everyone that doesn’t go to school where I do. There’s nothing better in the world than slipping into your favorite sweater, pumpkin spice latte in hand, and strolling down the Red Cedar river… except football Saturdays of course. Grandma and Grandpa’s tailgate is always a stop as my best friends and I make our way to Spartan Stadium decked out in green and white, ready to watch Michigan State football rule the world. Trading in the green and white traditions for a hot Valencian fall was honestly a hard decision to make. So, I was ecstatic when I discovered the Valencia CF futbol’s Mastella stadium was visible from UVA.

Yes I know, futbol is not the same as football. But after being deprived from all American sports for a month and a half I was desperate. After annoying my friends with stories about how much fun MSU games are, I dragged them to the Valencia v. Celta game. After asking our neighbor which country Celta was (it’s actually a team from an area in Galacia), we were settled into our cheap nosebleeds and ready to watch some futbol. I had watched the Eurocup and played elementary school soccer, so I knew what to expect…. or did I?

Futbol is life in Spain. Whereas in America sports fans everywhere are able to spread there fanaticism over football, basketball, baseball and hockey, the only sport of any importance is futbol. The big rival, Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona is more of a lifestyle than a sports choice, and with Valencia being the 3rd grossing team in Spain it draws it’s fair share of fans as well.

The game was a ton of fun. Valencia won and I was able to get my sports-fill. By the end of the semester maybe I’ll be able to cheer at the right parts of the game and understand a corner kick. When this happens I’ll be able to say with confidence that I’ve mastered Spanish culture. Until then, I have another full week of classes to look forward to.

Here are some pictures of the game!


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