Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where Modern Spanish Religious Fervor Lives, Part 1

Spain is catholic country, but the stone churches are mostly empty now. Estadio Bernabeu in Northern Madrid is the crown jewel (Barca fans will protest in vain) and is home to Real Madrid. To say that many Spaniards consider their soccer team with greater understanding than they have of God, would still to understate the devotion they have for their local club. Especially if they are currently winners.

This may sound like the US NFL fans who skip church 4 months a year to spend all Sunday at the game, but it is not the same concentration of sports fanaticism as you find in Spain. Yes, Spain is excited about Basketball. Team handball attracts some attention. And that is about it for other sports in Spain (sorry Rafa, you are a niche product). In Spain, you don't have the 30+ other sports as in the US between which to divide their sports passions, so the net effect is to have a huge fan base for a single sport that responds in unison with sports enthusiasm to every kick, foul, and goal.

They wisely made the stadium out of concrete, in case pyro-minded fans tried to have their way.

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