Thursday, February 3, 2011

Soccer, it's in Their Blood

My husband is a true Carioca and, therefore, has his soccer team.  There are 4 club teams in Rio de Janeiro: Botafogo, Vasco, Flamengo, and Fluminense.  My husband is Botafogo and so am I. Yes, since I did not have a team, I married into one and my children were born into one. If they should want to switch teams later in life, they may also have to switch Fathers.

So imagine my husband's surprise when I announced that I was enrolling our 4 yr old son into soccer class. I had hardly gotten the last syllable of the word 'class' out of my mouth when he declared that it MUST be with the Botafogo club.

That's all well and good. I totally get where he's coming from. There's a much larger chance of our son switching teams if he is playing for and friends with people from another team.  I hear you Mr. Rant and it is duly noted.

But it's not going to happen.  It's just not practical. When I mentioned that, I was huffed. Oh yes, my husband huffed and puffed and attempted to blow down my logic.  So wasn't going to happen.  But I'm a fair player and I informed him that if he'd like to be late to work twice a week so he could load up our son in the car and drive him to practice, go for it.  I, on the other hand, was going to pick a team in walking distance from my place.

Walking distance, I'm all about it these days. I blame city life and good weather.

Anyway, he was somewhat accepting over the idea of our son practicing at the Fluminense club. It's around the corner from our place and we are members, only because it means a pool on hot days.  That and Fluminense is not a threat. No offense Flu supporters.

But something happened on the way to making that happen. I was invited by a friend to have my son try out beach soccer, also near our place.  Well, that just sounds like a hell of a lot more fun than regular soccer, plus my little one would actually be able to play around on the beach while we watched.  Score!

Imagine my husband's surprise when I informed him that I had found a team my son likes and it's, deep breath, sponsored by Flamengo!  For those of you who don't know, Flamengo is to the other Rio teams as the Isrealis are to the Palestinians.  Sorry honey, we left the Gaza strip for soccer practice.  So wrong, I know.

And it's not just my husband! I know my pediatrician's team, the school teacher's team, and basically anyone else in this country that I've spoken to for longer than a minute and a half.

Soccer is a way of life here. Even if you don't actively watch, I'd say 99% have a team they at least say they support.

As for my husband and the beach soccer team, he came and watched the other day.  He saw how happy our boy was out there.  It got the thumbs up.  Because, let's be honest, if there's one thing that makes a Brazilian Dad prouder than his soccer team, it's his kid playing soccer.  


  1. My husband is santos and insists that I too married in to a club. hmmm no. I think that´s something I rather not invest my time in, but when I want to get a rise out of him-- I tell him that I am going to support Corthians.

    That will do it. I do this about every two months and every two months he forgets, freakouts and then the joke is revealed. It never gets old! Man, I am a mean wife. Hey sorry I grew up in Green Bay fanatics of football drove me to this post.

  2. So true, you are born into it. My son didn't have a choice, his vovo is Flamengo and when I was just a few months pregnant (and found out it was a boy), HE bought his soon to be neto Flamengo babywear and also a seleção brasileira uniform. My husband and I are not fans of any particular clube, we really only follow games when Brasil plays. But just living here, you always know who is playing (winning) like late last night I hear people yelling from their windows "Mengo!", I sort of guessed who was playing and either scored or won. I get a kick out of this enthusiasm for any team, what fans! Qual seu time? How many times have I heard that question? Little kids ask this all of the time. I'm sure your sons will want to be just like their Daddy and that he has nothing to worry about!

  3. One of the first things Alexandre taught me to say in Portuguese was "Eu sou Corintiana." Then he made me repeat it to people like I was a little kid who had just learned a funny phrase.

    I think it's a healthy pastime! Except for all the beer that comes with it. And the fighting. Ok, I guess it's not that healthy.

  4. I like the world cup... A LOT! It´s all the raw talent in one space. But national football is more boring and slow. I am a doer not a watcher. I would rather play soccer than watch. But I like soccer better than American football.

    Ricardo wants to take me to a game when he gets back.. maybe he is trying to convert me. Of course he is, he will never give up.

    AND my post above, the last word is suppose to be position NOT POST.

  5. As a never-into-sports gay guy I am totally out of the loop. But I am required to have a response to "What team are you?"

    I stick with Flamengo -- power to the people.

    But I cannot continue a conversation beyond the second sentence.

  6. Ha!
    Born and raised "Corinthiano", my father has been directly involved with Corinthians and has been a Director at the team for 25 years...
    My sister ( for the general disgrace of the family ) married a guy from Campinas who is a blue in the face "Ponte Preta" fan...
    Now, my sister is pregnant and the family already started the fight of the century to see who are the babies going to go Dad says they have to be Corinthians because they live in Sao Paulo and the babies' father is threating to move back to Campinas... :(
    It reminds me of the radical fans of the Boston Red Sox agaings the New York Yankees...
    We are New York Yankees living in New England, right outside of Boston, I feel like we are jews living in Nazi Germany...
    We have to hide in the basement on game days so we can cheer on the Yankees without being heard by our neighbors :)


  7. hahaha, we all have our teams!

    And Nina, just cruel and funny at the same time ;)

  8. Leon is Vasco so I am Vasco by affiliation of love..haha
    When I left Rio, Leon gave me his Vasco team shirt and I wear it to sleep in everynight. He LOVES to see me on cam with his shirt on..awww.LOL

  9. "...If they should want to switch teams later in life, they may also have to switch Fathers...."

    Like it.