White Force, please don’t organize

Something is seriously wrong with Colo Colo fans.

I say this while also adding the disclaimer that my husband and his ENTIRE family are Colo Colo fans.

Colo Colo is a Chilean soccer team; highly favored, winner of a record number of national titles and, in short, is considered by most of the international clubs to be the best Chilean soccer team, period.

Colo Colo is the people’s team. Their most die-hard fans are called the “Garra Blanca” or “White Force” and though this may sound all great and supportive, the fact is that they’re scary. I’ve decided that they are the scariest organized group in Chile. In fact, if they had some inkling as to business, I guarantee they could easily become rulers of the underworld here, probably becoming more powerful than President Piñera himself. Personally, I’m thanking my lucky stars they haven’t yet organized themselves to this extent yet.

Why do I feel this way?

Well because earlier this month I accompanied my husband to my first Colo Colo game ever. Apparently it was some deciding game that may have meant something if another soccer team, La Catolica, would have just lost their game against another team. They didn’t, so even though Colo Colo won their game 4-2, the fact of the soccer matter is that the win meant nothing.

Stadium prior to start of game

This is a picture of the stadium prior to the start of the game. See, I should have known this was going to get ugly when G pointed out that the competing team’s area was way across the field from the “Garra Blanca” and on top of that, enclosed for their safety. Notice that detail above, directly under the billboard advertisement for Cristal beer?

 

G and me hanging out at the game, happy and smiles.

Things got ugly, real fast.

First this ...

Are those flares being waved around by soccer fans? Yes, sweet pea, those are flares. Apparently this is somewhat “normal” for Colo-Colo fans. What, with mere cheering being such child’s play and all. Once I got a gander at those puppies, I was convinced that Colo Colo was the best soccer team in the WORLD. This here is some good PR ya’ll.

Then the above escalated to this...

At this point I’m beginning to freak out. Where are the police? And when things like this happen, all I can think is, WHAT KIND  OF PEOPLE ARE OK WITH THIS?? Who’s idea is this and why is this even allowed??

Ta da! Colo Colo fans as they are, in all their "glory."

It’s not allowed, actually. The police finally did make their way to those bleachers, like Storm Troopers in Star Wars. And in a similar fashion they were dumb and useless. Meaning that, from where I was sitting, it seemed that the fans had the upper hand the entire time. I say this only because what started out with one flare, exploded into many flares and chaos ensued. And also because the police ended up retreating. One second we were sitting in our section, watching the chaos across the way, the next second G was leading me down the stairs and our entire section of the stadium was running out and towards their cars. Literally from one second to the next.

I really had to go to the bathroom right before G decided we needed to run for our lives. I asked if I could go, not knowing that it was the silliest, most insane question I could have possibly asked at that moment. How was I supposed to know? He kept telling me nothing was wrong and that we were leaving because the game was over (despite the fact that I didn’t recall that the game stopped at any point before we ran off)!

Lies!! All lies!!!

In conclusion, I hear that soccer fans all over the world are crazy and totally inappropriate and that it’s not just the seemingly dangerous Colo Colo fans. Since this dreadful game, I’ve heard stories that in Italy (or Germany or something) fans have actually been trampled on and killed by other fans. I hear that Argentinean soccer fans are just as intense – and yes – just as scary.

Call me crazy but fearing for my life at an athletic competition is not my idea of a good time. Hence, my ultimate decision to never again step foot in another soccer stadium, let alone, a soccer stadium located anywhere outside the boundaries of the good ol’ US of A. No sir, I’ll just stick with the snoozeville of baseball games which, as far as I know, seem to be a whole lot mellower.

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One thought on “White Force, please don’t organize

  1. um yea. my single worst experience as a study abroad student – bar none – was one fateful night in 2003 when some gringos and i decided to attend a colo colo gain. silly, silly me. besides the blatant sexual harassment that we faced walking up the stairs – once the game started it was clear to me that people were going to get violent. so what did i do? exactly what you did. i grabbed one of my gringa pals and peaced out of that mofo. sorry, something about large crowds of drunk and possibly armed peeps in a not-so-great neighborhood in a country where i’m just not convinced ambulances move with the same level of urgency as in gringolandia esp not to get people who have been trampeled at a soccer game = not my idea of a good tiempo. preachin to the choir

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