Friday, August 20, 2010

Travels abroad: The opening of Chivas' new stadium

I am a diehard Chivas fan. Those who know me can attest to this fact seeing as I rarely go a week without donning the 'rojiblanca' jersey. The reasons behind my fandom are intricate and longwinded and deserve a post of their very own. For the purposes of this post, however, just know that my family in Mexico is red and white through and through. This benefitted me supremely this summer when I took my annual pilgrimage to Guadalajara. For you see, for the first time in 60 years, Chivas would not be calling the historic Estadio Jalisco home any more. A new stadium, one that had been promised for over a decade, was built and Chivas was to move in. My family, namely my grandma, my grandpa, and my uncle Tony, had the foresight to buy into the promise of a new stadium and had bought seats in the new stadium before any concrete had been poured. They bought three seats at midfield in the 200's section and consequently now own them for five years.

Well, a little known team named Manchester United was invited to come play and to christen the new stadium with their prestige and elegant play and guess who had the good fortunate to witness it firsthand. As you can tell by the picture above, this guy. My grandma gave me her ticket and allowed me to experience probably the greatest sporting game/experience I have ever seen in person. This is a little taste of what I got to experience. (Click on the pictures to see them at full size)

6 men in one cutlass is a tight fit. Being the youngest and smallest, I squeezed in to the front seat with my grandpa.

Traffic was beyond terrible. It took 10 minutes to get to within a mile of the stadium. It took 50 to get into the parking lot. Let's just say, having one entrance for 45,000 is not the smartest thing in the world.

Nearing the stadium now. Such a thrilling experience. The structure is supposed to represent a volcano with clouds above it. I'm not sure it does, but I am sure I fell in love with it.

Parking was 60 pesos. Only about $5.50. Not bad for a world class exhibition.

"The boys" From left to right: my uncle Oscar, uncle Luis, Uncle Tony, me, grandpa, uncle Hector.

Just take in this picture. The colors, the people, the stadium itself. There was so much electricity in the crowd.

We had to wait in line for about 25 minutes because they were patting down every single person before entering. It would have taken a lot longer but they opened a pat-down station real close to us while we were in line and we jumped into the newly formed line.

My breathtaking first look at the field. Wow doesn't even begin to describe it.

The crowded, yet spacious concourses at the new stadium.

The view from our seats. Not shabby eh?

Stadium shots with over 4 hours left until game time.

A very elaborate opening ceremony. Not my thing though. I just wanted to watch the game already.

By far the coolest sight of the night. They gave us little plastic cards the size of a small poster board and told us when to put them up, creating the first ever mega-mosaic in Mexican history.


They also gave us a t-shirt to give the stadium the whole red and white striped look. This is my beloved Chivas taking the field against Manchester United, with Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez playing his last half as a member of Guadalajara.

Chivas played a phenomenal first half and took a 2-1 lead to the intermission. Ee saw a lot of this in the half, the Red Devils pinned in their own end. Fittingly, Chicharito scored the first goal of the stadium and the place was deafeningly loud. No pictures of the celebrating crowd though because I was too busy screaming and hugging everyone.

Blurry, I know but still worth seeing. The building played host to a fantastic soiree worthy of the best club in Mexico. Chivas won 3-2 and even though a few substitutions were made in the second half, 11 by Chivas and 6 by Man U, it was still an exciting affair.

I will never forget this night. Tremendous on all accounts.

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