Blog by Andrea Baick, Abby Banholzer and Rebecca Kelly
Today was a beyond excellent day - one filled with great sports, great shopping and great food. We started off the morning with another lesson from Maria. She taught us some defensive skills that are extremely useful in game play. The drills included 1 v 1, 2 v 1, as well as some quick shooting exercises. Maria is a highly ranked Argentine defender; tomorrow we will get the opportunity to work with one of her teammates - a very skilled striker!
After saying our final goodbyes to Maria, the team came back to the hotel to get ready to shop! Some girls went to La Boca, a colorful neighborhood with a heavy Italian influence due to the immigrants who arrived here at the end of the 19th century, and perused the street art. Other girls went to Florida Street, a pedestrian only stretch chock full of shops. Although many of us spent our life saving on clothes and shoes.... we're only in Argentina once, right?
Later tonight, we got the chance to attend an Argentinos Juniors soccer game, which was an out-of-this-world experience. Despite being a smaller club, overwhelming cheers and chants from the crowd resembling those at an American football game were loud and exciting. There were two areas where the rowdiest fans - who had drums, flags, their own fireworks and giant signs -- sat and they were caged off with barbed wire at the top. There was also an inflatable tunnel for the opposition to enter into the middle of the field safely. We sat in a less rowdy area at the top of the stadium with one of our tour guides and two special soccer tour managers. The intense energy pumped us all up as we cheered from top of the steep stadium, which seats 25,000. We were mostly unable to sing along but our spirits were high and we enjoyed their tradition of ripping the newspaper and throwing it in the air as confetti.
The game ended in a 0-0 tie. Then the opposing team's fans are released from their "cage" and the rest of the stadium waits at least 15 minutes before being allowed to depart. We boarded two small buses to return to the hotel we now call home.
PS - Just for the record, when they say it's winter in Argentina listen! Hace frio!