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Bombard Barca !

"... Bomba... " It's noisy outside. When I look down from my window, I see a bunch of soccer supporters in blue and white uniform is marching in the old city of San Sebastian. "Bombard Barca! Bombard Barca!" Then I remember. Today is the day local football club Real Sociedad faces to League leader FC Barcelona. I wanted to see the game at the stadium. But unfortunately, the tickets had all gone when I got to a box office. On the stone pavements, the group of chants fades into the direction of Anoeta Stadium. Well, I'll watch it on TV with local supporters at bar tonight.

I've seen a game of the Liga Espanola only twice so far. Coincidentally, both of them were in Basque. They were the matches of Real Sociedad in San Sebastian and Athletic Bilbao.
The two clubs are both in Basque country. But the orientation of the club are different each other. In another words, it well describes the character of each city. Real Sociedad openly gets the player from the world for reinforce the club. It expresses the more open atmosphere of international resort in Northern Spain. On the other hand, Bilbao is symbol of Basque. So they make the football club in more conservative way than Real Sociedad. Athletic Bilbao makes the team with all Basque players and has stay in the 1st division for long time.
People in Bilbao told me like this. "Donostiarra (people of Sansebastian) likes money. " I think both cities regard each other as a rival. However there are much stronger bonds unifying each other. It's the identity of Basque. The thing they regard as a rival in real meanings must be "Spain".

Without doubt, football is a king of entertainment in Spain. For the most of the Spanish people, football is not the dead or alive things. Because they well know it's an entertainment. Whichever they are soared or disappointed with Sunday game, it wouldn't effect to their life on Monday. The result of the game must become just introduction of small talk. It must be an essence of good communication. The position of football in Spain is so comfortable even to me, foreigner.

Once I watched the match at San Mames Stadium in Bilbao. Actually the supporters chattered over dinner at bar until the last moment of kick off. Basque had terrible weather in winter. The pitch looked like a sea of mud. I heard dull sound of the players tackling each other from hazy ground. The audience requested yellow card to the referee when their player got charge. Then they ask for the red when the opposite team got the yellow. "Tarjeta! Tarjeta!" The lined supporters stuck out the hands. It meant I couldn't see the play on the sideline. The rain was blown into the stand with short roof of the old stadium which was built in 1913. In spite of that, young girls cheered their favorite players, and the old gave them a support in damn cold weather.

On another day, I was passing by the show window of the electric shop late at night. The store had already closed. But in the dim show window, a TV was left turning on and screened the football game. It must be service of the shop. I was watching the game. The people joined me one after another and left with short comments. It's interesting.

It's almost kick off time to Real Sociedad x FC Barcelona. I should go to the bar. The TV monitors suspended from ceilings is already surrounded by the customer. I order a cheap house wine. Shortly after, it's kicked off. I watch TV at the counter. One guy next ot the TV calls me. "Hey! Come over here and watch it together. I keep your space, uh?" He points out the space in front of him. I take my glass and dish, and take part in the group. They offer me a platinum standing seat in front row.

Jan. 2007

Today's piece
" Old city " San Sebastian, Spain 1998

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