Monday, February 19, 2007


We've been told since we got here that the Beitar Soccer fans are nuts. Well, in the soccer game that we went to, I think it would be a toss-up between the Beitar fans and the newest addition to the Jerusalem Soccer Arena: Us.
The interesting thing about soccer games here is that there are no bells and whistles. Usually if you go to a sporting event in the states you have your cheerleaders, halftime shows, and a JumboTron to see all your instant replays.
Here you have a stadium, 22 players, several thousand fans, and a ball. Well, you could probably add the guys that walk around selling coke, bread, and sunflower seeds, as well as the guys that enter with big plastic bags full of merchandise that they sell whenever stadium representatives aren't looking. I have scarf.
The fans are something else. They seem to spontaneously break out into song. There are cheers where one side shouts to the other and then they answer, like in high school football games. (We've got spirit, yes we do! We've got spirit, how 'bout you??!!). Our little group, after a failed attempt to start a wave (we got the strangest looks...), decided to contribute volume wise. Sean (totally nuts, btw) decided to yell "WE ARE, WE ARE!!" After which the rest of the group would reply "BEITAR!!" It wouldn't have been embarrassing if it weren't during that rare moment when the other fans weren't singing, but we let our unculturedness shine through.
One interesting thing is the security precautions that they take here. They're obviously accustomed to it, but every bag was searched and every person was patted down, twice. I was barely able to take in extra batteries for my camera (I never realized that the AA's are very close in size to a bullet). The good thing is that you felt very safe, even though there was violence in the Old City that day.
The picture is of Jane and Jill, two girls who have been best friends literally their whole lives (they were born one day apart in the same hospital, next door neighbors, etc.). I promised Jill she would be on the blog. She'd better say "thank you!" :)

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