Sunday, August 30, 2009

Soccer on Sunday at Sangam

Last week, I met a nice chap in Itaewon who works for Turkish Air Lines named Ahmed. Needless to say, I meet a lot of folks over here from all over, in many lines of work. But as we got to talking, I realized we had at least one big thing in common--FC Seoul. I support the team, and he is a friend of Senol Gunes, the coach, who is also Turkish. So he supports the team as well.

I mentioned I was planning to go to the game at Sangam on Sunday, though I wished they played more on Saturday, on account of I have to work on Mondays. To make a long story, uh, less long, Ahmed offered me free tickets to the game, in the W section, behind the team benches. Good seats. He offered me two tickets, so I accepted, even though I was unsure who would take the second seat. Co-worker Jerry responded in about five minutes to my multi-text, and I had to turn down two more people. Anyway, here is a photo of three happy campers--well, happy considering our team lost 0 - 2 ...

Despite losing, FC Seoul is atop the league by a 4 point margin over second place Jeongbuk Hyundai Motors; with the win, Ulsan advanced two slots to 11th place. The season is heating up, though the play-offs are still two months off. The video below shows three scenes: part of the pregame festivities; the opening volley at Sangam Stadium; and the best chance at a goal from FC Seoul, at least that I caught on my camera.

Obviously, one goes to a soccer game for the game, but there is more to it than that. When Jerry arrived at the GS25 convenience store beside the stadium where we agreed to meet, he was surprised to find me in conversation with an older Korean gentleman. It is part of the lot of a good ambassador to hold a conversation with a local, at least briefly, as long as it is not disrupting your life. It wasn't, since I was drinking a beer and waiting, and the man was very interesting: before retiring, he had a career in animation, and had spent about three years traveling in the US and Canada, painting as he went.

Another part of the pre-game fun is "FC Seoul Park", a relatively new feature, with flag drawing, a kicking contest, mini-games for the kiddies, and the like.

Thanks again, Ahmed--p.s., I ran your phone number through the wash, so I can't ring you to say thanks more personally!

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