Where We Be
La Boca lost the game, but the fans with their nonstop chanting were the real winners in our opinion
La Boca Soccer -- Buenos Aires, Argentina
I'm wearing a genuine La Boca shirt bought just before the game (Megatone is their main advertiser)
On the same day our bus arrived in Buenos Aires,
we noticed a soccer game was being advertised
between La Boca and Defensor. La Boca is the
premier team in Buenos Aires (along with their
arch-rivals River Plate), and Defensor is a lesser
known team from Montevideo. They were playing
in a quarter-finals playoff match in the Copa
Libertador de las Americas that evening. Our
hostel offered a tour that included a guide,
transfers to and from the stadium, and standing
room in the rowdy La Boca stands. We booked it
then and there despite the high price tag of 220
ARS per person ($60 US).

The game was a real cultural experience and
totally worth the price of admission, even though
La Boca lost the game to Defensor and in fact
never scored a goal (Defensor won 1-0). But what
really mattered was the fans, who literally chanted
and sung the entire game. And not just during the
game but for a half hour before it as well. The most
ardent fans of all, known as “La Doce” (which
means “the Twelve” even though there appear to
be at least twelve hundred of them), unfurled a
banner that literally covered one entire end of the
stadium. They also led the passionate chanting
that rocked the place.

What impressed us most was that even after
having lost the game and having been eliminated
from the series, the La Boca fans continued to
chant and clap for their adored La Boca team.
Clearly La Boca could do no wrong as far as they
were concerned. Each call by the refs against La
Boca was a mistake worthy of whistles, catcalls,
and cries of outrage. Every perceived trip of a La
Boca player (even if the player took an obvious
dive) sparked even greater outrage. I’ve never
heard so many people called “hijo de una puta”
(son of a whore) in my life. But it all seemed to be
part of the fun for the Argentines to clap, curse,
shout, and sing.

Did I mention we stood for the entire game? That’s
right, for 45 minutes of the first half and 45
minutes of the second half, no one sat. Only
during the 15-minute half time did the La Boca fans
park their butts on the concrete (there were no
seats in this part of the stadium).

Watching the vendors work their way through the
packed stands was amazing in its own right. There
were no aisles, so the vendors had to jostle and
push their way through the crowd with trays of
Cokes or coolers of ice cream held high above
their heads.

This was the last thing we felt we HAD to do in
Argentina. To miss it would have been to miss a
major cultural experience. We're so glad we got to
attend a game of this magnitude in a stadium that
(as far as we’re concerned) has the best fans in
the world. We’ll never forget that chanting!
Our tour included the chance to meet the "double" for famed soccer player Diego Maradona
A half hour before the game the fans were already chanting
The most ardent fans unfurled this enormous banner which covered one whole side of the stadium
The soccer game was almost secondary to the confetti, fireworks, and stadium-wide chanting of the packed crowd