Ivo and I went with my friend Terry to an FCZ and GZ match. It's called a derby, but it is the Zürich soccer rivalry equivalent of Sox and Yanks.
Ivo has never been nervous as a result of my football attendance before. He was a bit, however, this time. It may have had something to do with the waiting vans of police, the water canon or the scary fans.
The two teams share the same stadium. This is, of course, imperfect, but has to do with renovation and rebuilding of Swiss soccer stadiums in preparation for our hosting the EUFA cup this summer. Previously, the "away" team would walk to the "home team's" stadium. They shut down a nearby bridge for the marching fans. Are you getting the fact that this is a big deal?
Terry was using his work-place's season tickets, which means that we were sat securely in the family section. (This means that I was engaged by a number of papas with daughters with the request "könnt ihr schnell lüege, dass sie ok gönnt?") Looking to our right, GZ was seated in what I have always considered the "away team seating". To my left, the "SüdKurve", where we normally sit, was full of the three groups of rabble-rowsers who are always there, if not, at times, in less of a force.
The two teams were announced and although I am no hard-core fan (I sing along with the songs, cuz it's fun, but I don't live and die for the wins and losses) I was a bit injured when FCZ was announced as the guest, or visiting team. I'm sure that there is some understanding and that this decision makes complete sense to the more regular attendees. I only know that somewhere inside me, I felt pained. A guest at home. I know that feeling. As I fought with the foreigner's police on the telephone and they couldn't find my records and said that I was not listed as a resident, that is how I felt. Guest at home.
The game was lively and exciting. The GZ fans sang a song about a hockey stadium, which slightly confused me. In the all-or-nothing rite of fandom we needed to, of course, mock everything about the fans. From the bread rolls that they threw toward the field in anger, to the fact that they had absolutely no flags. The FCZ fans were practically canopied with flags and banners. Beautifully drawn, cleverly writen and placed here and there to show the three sorts of fans and their diverse levels of crazy. Now and again, they would light a flare and a fire would begin and Ivo and I tried to keep track of how much of a fine they were chalking up and if it would be bigger than last year's derby.
Yesterday, having asked Steff, we discovered that the GZ fans had flags and banners. The fires that we'd seen in the FCZ fan section was the FCZ fans burning the flags that they had stolen off of the GZ fans. He wanted to try and explain the history of tit-for-tat and how this all made sense, but I needn't hear it really. It was pretty much all explained in the action itself and I was still feeling oddly empathetic for the guests at home.