A once in a lifetime game

3 04 2011
Costa Rica National Stadium

Costa Rica National Stadium


It all started approximately two months ago…

Costa Rica was building a brand new National Stadium (thanks to the Chinese) that was to open this past week.  The schedule for the week had been leaked to the public early and anticipation for the events started to build about 3 months ago.  Then the big news broke…the Costa Rican National Soccer team was going to play the Argentinean National team during the opening week of the stadium.  That is HUGE news here in CR.  Argentina is a perennial power-house in soccer and is currently ranked 4th in the world and they claim “the best soccer player in the world”- Lionel Messi.

Having an opportunity to go to a game like this may be once in a life time.  So, I talked to Vanessa and she agreed to let me buy tickets, even though they were going to be around $100 each.  The day to purchase tickets arrived and I awoke early to try to buy them on-line.  However, as with many things here in Costa Rica, it didn’t work the first time.  So, I went to work and continually tried to purchase the tickets throughout they day but the website continually failed me.  I started to stress out toward the end of the day and pleaded with Vanessa to go with me to one of the ticket outlets (which oddly is a furniture store).  When we arrived we saw people with upset faces leaving and I knew deep inside that it was a lost cause…and it was.  The 36,000 tickets had sold in just under 5 hours.

I pushed the disappointment to the back of my mind but it resurfaced this past weekend when the stadium officially opened and “Le Sele” (thats what they call the national team) played China in the inaugural game.  I was with our friend Scott and Vanessa eating while fireworks and music echoed from the stadium over 3 miles away.  I had disappointment written all over my face and it became a topic of conversation during dinner.  I joked about going and buying scalped tickets to Tuesdays game versus Argentina but I had heard tickets were going for over $500 each!

Tuesday rolled around and I had made plans with our group of friends to watch the soccer game a local restaurant because this was one of the most anticipated games to be played in Costa Rica.  That morning I received and email from Tedd, one of our friends, that “plans have changed” and that he had acquired 2 tickets to the game but that Scott and I would have to fight over it.  Scott, being at dinner with me earlier in the week, graciously conceded and allowed me to attend with Tedd.

precious ticket

I came to find out that Tedd was given the tickets from a student in his class.  The family owns one of major television stations in Costa Rica and we would be attending the game with them.  Tedd and I arrived at the family’s “house” if could even call it that; it was more of a compound complete with a maids house (which is bigger than ours) the main mansion and a guest house and were taken to the game by the family’s chauffeur.

We didn’t go directly to the stadium but across the street to the television studios to meet with the entire family.  We met with the mother and father and had a brief but pleasant conversation and they told us that they actually had a 3rd ticket if we had any friends that wanted to attend.  Tedd quickly called Scott, who was a bit disappointed since giving me the ticket.  Scott dropped everything and came.  He was in the middle of a meal at a restaurant, he jumped up without taking more than two bites of his food, put down money and ran to catch a cab.  He arrived at the studios just as we were walking over to the game 30 minutes before kickoff.

Scott- glad he could make it!

Scott- glad he could make it!


As we worked our way into the stadium the feeling was electric.  You could hear passionate songs being sung by thousands of fans and enthusiastic cheers as Lionel Messi stretched and warmed-up.  We found our seats, which weren’t front row with the family, but at mid-field in the upper bowl.  The seats were great! We could easily see everything and were close enough to make out everything on the field.

Fireworks before the game

Fireworks before the game


Fireworks over the sold out crowd

Fireworks over the sold out crowd


Teams for their national anthems

kick off!

All the fans surrounding us cheered, whistled, sang and chanted throughout the game.  It was a great game, despite the 0-0 tie and the rumors of Messi not playing coming to fruition.  Apparently, he was injured playing the United States a couple of days before and his profesional club team pulled the strings that disallowed him to play.

It was a fantastic, maybe once in a lifetime, experience that I am very grateful to have had!  Pura Vida!


Scott and Tedd still taking it in after the game

souvenirs for V

I really enjoyed it




3 responses

3 04 2011

YESSSSS!!! So glad you had time to write about this over the weekend! So jealous!!! I am now fully convinced you two live in a fantasy world down there… I want to join.

4 04 2011

What is this “soccer” you speak of? I’m not familiar with it.

11 04 2011

Hoorayyyy! I am so happy you were able to go! I know you loved every second!!!! Love you!

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