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Friday, May 2, 2014

American Football in Costa Rica/Fútbol Americano

On Saturday, April 26, 2014, a group of us went to the Costa Rica American Football Super Bowl VI - 1st Division. The two teams playing were the Santa Ana Bulldogs (the team we were rooting for) and the Toros. The coach of the Bulldogs, Lee Coleman, lives in our town of Atenas. The team has a bulldog as a mascot - "Big Papi II" - who is at every game. The Bulldogs are also known as "the Dawgs".

The Bulldogs won 20 to 8. The Toros had been undefeated this season until this game. The game was played at Estadio "Pipilo" Umaña in Moravia ("estadio" is "stadium" in English).

The trip was organized by the informal Atenas Mens' Club - thank you Tony and Jim for all your work. We met in front of the Catholic Church in Atenas around noon and boarded a large, air conditioned bus for the trip to Moravia (San José area). Everyone (there were twenty-two of us) had brought stadium cushions, sunblock, sunglasses, umbrellas, water, snacks. We were not sure what the stadium was going to be like.

I am sorry but I do not know the name of the bus company. However, our driver was very personable, the bus was comfortable and it is so nice to let someone else do the driving, especially in the San José area, and after the game when it was dark and we were all pleasantly tired.

As it turned out, one side of the stadium has a roof so we were shielded from the sun and eventually the rain. The stadium cushions were most welcome because the "seats" are just long rows of cement.

The private league, American Football Association/Costa Rica Federation of American Football was created in 2008 and given international representation in 2010 by the Costa Rican Institute of Sports and Recreation. So, as you can see, American football is quite new here.

I had been to a couple of football games in Canada but they really didn't interest me. Our seats were high up in the stands and I never could figure out what everyone was doing - all that moving up and down the field, players piling on top of each other.

At this Super Bowl, I had a great time. We were at the 45 meter/50 yard line, about three rows up and could see all the action. For the first time, I started to understand how football is played. It's a rough game! Especially after the rain storm when the grass field became muddy and wet. The stadium is in a residential area and several footballs were kicked right out of the stadium and into the surrounding streets. They must keep a good supply of extra footballs on hand.

I'm not sure what the attendance figures were. A lot of people (Ticos) showed up later in the game. Support for both teams was loud and energetic. There were a couple of booths selling giant hotdogs, and plates of salad, pork and chicharróns (fried pork rinds) and escabeche (marinated vegetables, similar to pickles). I had never tried chicharróns before and they were pretty good. The pork was excellent.

I bought a Seattle Seahawks jersey for 2 mil (2,000 colones or $4.00), a very good deal. Here is a short video I made of the game and also some photos.

 

 

About to board our bus.
On left: our bus and our group. See how close I was to the action!

 

 

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