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After living in Buenos Aires and working at Expanish for a number of years I finally had the opportunity to take part in our Fútbol activity with Juancho Football. After three years of seeing the photos and listening to our students accounts of how much fun they had, I decided my visit was long overdue! This past Saturday I went to see La Boca Juniors at their home stadium, la Bombonera (the chocolate box) and now I can see why our students rave about this unforgettable activity.

Fútbol in Argentina is a very passionate affair, with fans who like to sing, jump and shout throughout the match. Whilst most tours take tourists to the platea, where they get to watch the crazy fan action, seated from above (and of course the actual football), our Spanish students always ask us for a real Argentine fan experience…enter Juancho the master of all that is Boca fútbol.

The musical bouncing bus

My trip started with a Juancho football bus pick up in San Telmo, there are also pickups in Palermo for anybody is living on the other side of the city. Juancho and his team joined us on the buses, teaching us the obligatory hand movement of all fans as well as some of the songs, in Spanish, and of course the jumping. Next, the serious part – safety instructions, what to do and what not to do in the popular stand(the stand with no seats), not a place usually recommended for tourists, although Juancho and his guides enable anybody to have that real Argentine Futbol experience safely.

The free flowing beer and pizza in a blue and yellow bar

First stop – pizza and beer in a bar in La Boca. We managed to consume 165 bottles of beer, 55 pizzas, 9 bottles of Coca Cola and a bottle of water! There were a lot of new La Boca fans on Saturday! Although I do have a small tip, you may have to spend a couple of hours without being able to fight the crowd to go to the toilet, so be easy on your bladder.

Inside the chocolate box

Next stop stadium, Juancho got us in early so that we would miss the last minute crush and organize our places before the big hordes entered. All of his team was dotted around us making sure we kept together and were safe. The Juancho team were on hand with song sheets so even those who have only started learning Spanish with Expanish could sing along with the chanting fans that were already pumping up for the match. I’m not sure you´ll find the vocabulary in a DELE exam, but it does make it a fun way to learn.

Next the actual game, well for me the fans. I do have to admit, I was more fascinated by watching the crowd than the game.  I became so captivated by the constant jumping and singing (even in the face of defeat) that I missed a lot of the football action.  Imagine a whole side of a stadium singing and jumping as one movement, a sight and an atmosphere really difficult to put into words, or even capture in photo or film – a must see to really get a feel for Argentine culture.  I managed to keep up with the songs, thanks to Juancho and staff showing us how to wave our hands in the air and partake in the fun. It was obvious that these people weren’t for show and are die-hard boca fans, the infamous 12th player:

Y dale alergia, alegria a mi corazon,

lo unico que te pido al menos hoy

el campeonato local es mi obsession

tenes que dejar al alma y el corazón

y vas a ver no somos como los putos de river plate

Unfortunately Boca lost, although I think whoever worked the scores in the stadium didn’t want to admit to that and didn’t put any scores up that were scored against Boca who ended up with a big fat 0 of goals.

After an exhilarating Argentine football match, and a one of a kind Boca Juniors Bombonera experience, we were escorted out of the stadium onto to the bus and taken to the perfect place to end the day – a bar in San Telmo with all of the Juancho team.

If you are looking for the opportunity to witness Argentine fútbol, where you can really observe the passion of Argentine fans, then look no further as Juancho offers one of the only authentic experiences available. If you’re an Expanish student, just ask one of us staff members for more information. Even if you do not study with Expanish, you can still participate in Juancho football and contact Juancho  Next week is the big one, the super clásico, Boca Juniors vs River Plate.