The first time I saw Brazil play was back in 2002. It was summer, and my dad was hooked on the TV, following every single game of World Cup 2002. I started watching with him, and before I knew it, I became a fan of the Brazilian national team and the magnificent maestro Kaka. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Brazilian national team came to Toronto to play Chile in a FIFA certified friendly. It was a very short trip. They arrived the evening before, and they left the night of the game. They only stayed one night. I wasn’t even planning to attend because the tickets were so expensive – even more expensive than actual World Cup 2014 tickets! – but the day before the game, I realized that I didn’t take this chance now, I may never see them play again. At least never in Toronto – hell, when I was a kid, I never imagined I would even be able to see them play in my home city of Toronto! – and probably not at least until my 30s. So I took this chance, bought a $62 ticket for the nosebleed sections and off I went.
Life is about taking the opportunities as they present themselves to you after all. If not now, then when?
My seats were awful, and it felt as if I was watching them play on TV, but there were several things that made the experience memorable:
- When the Brazilian national anthem came on, and the game started, I started to feel really emotional. Teared up at one point! The seleção is the reason why I fell in love with the sport, and sitting there reminded me of World Cup 2002 when I first imagined myself in the stadium celebrating with them.
- There were more Brazilian fans than Chilean fans in the stadium, and every so often, a cheer – a beat – would stir up from the stands, and the entire stadium would slowly follow the beat, chanting with each other.
- During a time when the game stalled because of an injury, the Mexican wave went three times around the Rogers Centre! It was a spectacular sight.
- The roar of the 38,500+ crowd cheering every time there was a Brazil goal!
I have been to a dozen or so Toronto FC games, but never have I experienced such a true footie-loving audience as this one at the Rogers Centre that night.
After watching this game, I absolutely cannot wait until World Cup 2014, when every seat in the stadium will be packed to the rim of footie-loving individuals like myself!