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Would You Plan a Trip Around a Sporting Event?

Buzz Poole
03/01/2011 - 12:03

I’m not a hardcore sports fanatic. This isn’t to say I haven’t been riled up with competitive spirit and whooped and hollered during games, both live and televised, but I don’t plan my life around home team schedules and rivalries. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that I have never planned a trip around a sporting event. But, I’ve had some amazing times while traveling because of a big match.

 

In 2007, I was in London when the Rugby World Cup was being held in France. To this day I don’t understand the game, but because England’s team was playing, I went to a pub with my British friends and watched the entire match. People were so excited it was impossible not to get caught up in the energy, even without really following the game’s nuances.

 

While traveling in Brazil and Argentina I made it a point to attend football matches. In Brazil, Carnival had just ended and Salvador seemed to be in a collective hangover. But, even for a minor regional match, the fans forgot about the previous days and days of partying, rejuvenated by the game. The game wasn’t completely sold out and I will never forget how during the second half the stadium opened its gates to the ticketless public and in came streams of kids, many of them homeless, getting as close to the pitch as possible.

Their excitement paled in comparison to the madness of Argentine Boca Juniors fans. When my wife and I inquired about attending a game while in Buenos Aires the friendly folks at the hotel insisted that we not go on our own. We scoffed but their insistence became something bordering on concern, so we followed their advice. While we never felt endangered, the scene was chaotic, replete with fire on the field, drumming throughout the entire game and swells of cheering when the home team scored, and on this night won.

 

Obviously, the world loves its sports, from both kinds of football to cricket, polo, cycling, bull fighting, skiing, sumo wrestling - the list goes on and on.

 

Would your love of a particular sport ever influence your travel plans, like booking a trip around the World Cup or the Tour de France?

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