Like many other countries during the World Cup, fútbol (or soccer, for the north Americans reading this) has taken over in Ecuador. Whether on the big screen in the FIFA stadium in Russia, or on the back streets of wherever you are, “soccer” is anywhere and everywhere.
My time in Ecuador fell in line with the annual FIFA World Cup, which created an interesting dynamic for non-fútbol fans (like me). Inside homes and businesses people gathered around televisions and radios trying to get as much as information as possible while defending or arguing against both plays and officials alike. The celebrations that followed the victory of a team in South America is something I wasn’t expecting.
It made the Cavaliers’ celebration in Cleveland, Ohio, look meager in comparison.
You can feel the excitement in the air as the teams walk out and hear the cheers and jeers. Many then go about discussing the game as in-depth as they can while demonstrating a play with their friends in pickup games. Something I realized while in Ecuador is that fútbol is about as ingrained in the culture as greeting your family in the morning. The people here live and breathe the sport, and it is an amazing experience to see first-hand. Next time I experience it, I hope to hold my own both skill wise and understanding of the game.