Sunday, July 20, 2008
Capture the flag
I had an assignment for a soccer match today, but it wasn't Chivas USA versus the Revs. I was covering the Guatemala/El Salvador friendly for the Associated Press. It was my first AP assignment, and I was too nervous to even keep a running blog.
That's because this exhibition had no one taking stats like at MLS games, so I had to track everything myself. Turns out that there was only one main stat that mattered - 0 - as in zero goals. A scoreless draw.
But there was a little extra action in the match. At the start of the game, fans from both teams presented giant flags as part of the on-field ceremony. The flags were then sent into the stands to travel a bit before being displayed near the main fan sections so they could be called into service for celebration whenever either side scored.
That was the idea, at least, but the fan groups were very mixed and El Salvador's decided not to cooperate. They wouldn't pass the Guatemalan flag at all. It didn't get very far in the journey of the stands. The El Sal fans pulled it down and tried to stuff it under the seats. The PA announcer asked for people to pass the Guate flag back to the front so it could be displayed. A few Guate fans tried to transport it and were hit with beer cups for their efforts. The flag was also doused with a lot of beer by the Salvadoran fans. A big tug-of-war broke out for the flag and part of it tore. Finally, one guy just stuffed the entire flag into a huge pile and walked away with it. I still don't know if he was rescuing it, or taking it to burn in a bonfire or what. The Guatemalan flag didn't reappear, though. So while the match was a scoreless draw, the game of capture the flag had a clear winner, even if they won by being bad sports.
El Salvador flag
Both on display
The Guatemalan flag didn't survive much longer than this