Vamos Super Chivos! One of the highlights of the recent Librarians Without Borders service trip to Guatemala was experiencing the madness that surrounds professional futbol. After the working day was done, we had the opportunity to attend a semi-final playoff game, featuring the Xelaju Super Chivos (Super Goats). The Super Chivos play in the Liga Nacional, Guatemala’s top footballing division and were on the brink of a major upset
The atmosphere was absolutely electric. Here are the highlights:
- Every conceivable sort of vendor had arrived and set up camp beneath the bleachers. This had the effect of forming a weird, underground sea of humanity, all barking and clawing their way to the merchandise of their choice. The smell of roasted peanuts and barbecued pork mixed with scents of the knock-off cologne being hawked to the eager crowd.
- For whatever reason, beer is sold only in 1 litre sizes. That’s a lot of liquid for one person to hold over the course of a 90 minute match. Compounded by the fact that there were only two bathrooms for a 5000 person crowd, the game was as much a workout for the fans as it was for the players.
- The intensity of the crowd was phenomenal. Whether it involved songs, dances or human waves, the entire crowd acted as one massive, screaming organism. There were more than a few ribald chants questioning the dubious ancestry of opposing players. After the first home team goal, the air was filled with so much confetti it blocked out the sky.
After a hard fought match, Club Xelaju MC downed rivals Club Marquense to advance to the quarter final round. Sharing this victory with an ecstatic hometown crowd gave us a unique insight into Guatemalan life we would otherwise never have experienced.