Monday, May 14, 2012

GS v. FB

Saturday night was a big night for Istanbul. It was a big night for football. And when I say "football", know that I mean soccer. This is my basic understanding of how this all works, so bear with me. There are 4 Turkish teams that compete for #1, and the #1 team also goes to play against Europe's best teams. So yeah, and there's a complicated point system, and the team with the most points wins the title. Something like that. 

Saturday was the final game. I guess that usually the winner is determined before the last game, and the competing teams usually aren't rivals. But Saturday's game was different, and it was for all the marbles. 

Istanbul is a huge city. It's so huge that it has 3 football teams. And two of them were competing for the championship. Imagine if the two teams playing in the Super Bowl were from the same city, and they were in that city playing. Things got crazy. 

Galatasaray (my team!) had to win or tie the game to win the championship. Fenerbahçe had to win the game, but they got home court advantage, and rumor is that Galatasaray hadn't won a game at the Fenerbahçe stadium in 12 years or something. The stakes were high, the teams were evenly matched, and everyone in Istanbul was watching. 

Galatasaray won (!!), and my side of Istanbul was full of fireworks and singing and general happiness that echoed across my little valley. 

Abby was in Fenerbahçe territory doing something completely unrelated to football when the Fenerbahçe fans began rioting. She walked down the street with shattered glass everywhere and fires burning in the middle of the road. She got tear-gased trying to get to the ferry to come back to our side. But even on the ferry, there were fans starting fires and a man covered in blood. Absolutely insane.

The moral of the story: Turks take their football very seriously. 

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