Friday, July 29, 2005

A friendly game

I went yesterday to see a friendly game between Chelsea Football Club and DC United. My first professional soccer game in the US. I used to go very often to the "Parc des Princes" with my dad to see Paris Saint Germain play so I kept a love for the ambiance of a stadium at a soccer game, the crowd and the supporters.
Chelsea's fans are known to be a bit rowdy but this is a friendly game so I don't expect any problems.
We're sitting near to the DC United fan base spot. Drumming for the all game, the cheers as their team open the score. My friends are English and they have brought in a "Chelsea" flag, that they fly over their heads when the game becomes too quiet.
Everyone seems to be having a good time when I noticed that the people in front of us are not looking at the game but at something happening on our left. I follow their graze and see a browl between supporters happening 5 or 6 rows away. Nothing serious it seems, just two guys with too much alcohol in their blood.
What was amazing was the reaction of the crowd. In France, this would have been dealt with by the people around. Pulling the fighters apart or sometimes escalating the fight with more shouting. Something that would involve them.
Here the reaction is quick and surprising. Everyone turns around toward the entrance of the section and calls out for a security guard to come. The man who shows up looks more than 50 and frankly I'm not sure how he could stop a fight between two twenty something drunk men.
He does not have to. As he is walking toward them, another guard shows up (probably summoned by people at the other end of the section) and he is escorting one guy out.
Everybody resume watching the game...


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