After hating some charming soccer players for crushing the housing game last semester, Bwog editor Alexandra Svokos decided to see them in action at their home opener against Iona College on Saturday.
I had this grand image in my head: a group of friends at Baker in painted faces and Columbia gear, cheering wildly in the stands and gloriously singing “Roar Lion Roar.” I mean, I was amped. So I messaged a dozen friends and they agreed to come–although not without one “Or we could just play Catan, guys!!!!!”
My friend–an Actual Soccer Fan–asked why we were meeting at the Broadway gates when the shuttle left from Amsterdam. “There’s a shuttle?” I asked, scouring the Athletics page. All I saw was subway directions, leading to a “what the fuck is the Broadway-Seventh Avenue IRT Local?”
I went to the Broadway gates in Columbia tank, Columbia cardigan, and Columbia baseball cap to find only the Actual Soccer Fan. Everyone else had bailed, citing everything from too much work to not wanting to see that dude she hooked up with once to musings that they hadn’t thought I was serious. Actual Soccer Fan and I rolled our eyes and hopped on the subway.
Actual Soccer Fan had with him a thermos of coffee. I had with me a thermos of “Mexican coffee.” We traded sips until we got to 215th. I was worried we wouldn’t be allowed in with drinks or that we’d have to have a ticket, but we waltzed to the bleachers without anyone stopping us.
“Are we on the right side?” I asked Actual Soccer Fan.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“Isn’t that a thing? Like everyone from one team sits on one side of the bleachers?” We’re still not sure.
We were late to the game–the score was already 1-1, with David Najem scoring off an assist by Andrew Tinari, and the bleachers were impressively crowded. We sat among athletes waiting for practices to start and students actually out to support the team. We pointed out people on the field we’d been in classes with before.
It was a well-matched game, with both teams fighting hard, and most of the action stayed in Columbia’s control. According to Actual Soccer Fan, we were favoring the right side in the first half. A group of little kids ran up and down the bleachers, following the action. We took a selfie and instragrammed it.
The first half ended and Actual Soccer Fan and I excitedly walked towards that donut shop everyone talks about. It’s closed for renovations. Thanks Obama. Instead we got cookies at a bodega next door where we glared at an Iona player.
Back in the bleachers, we moved closer to Columbia’s scoring goal. In our new spot, we were surrounded by Real Life Soccer Moms, which was fabulous. We got more into the game as Columbia had more scoring opportunities. Everyone was hollering and I found myself shouting things I hadn’t said since my **star** run on my high school freshman soccer team.
And then, Antonio Matarazzo’s persistence paid off. After a pass from Henning Sauerbier, he shot–and a defender stopped it! But then he kicked it again! And he SCORED! giving the Lions a 2-1 lead. The crowd went wild, the team went wild, and Actual Soccer Fan and I gave a toast of our Mexican coffee to Columbia.
We held onto the lead for the rest of the game, while Iona panicked. There was a lot of emotion on the field as the teams pushed each other very hard–at one point a fight broke after an Iona player slammed into the Columbia goalie. The clock ran out and Columbia had ourselves a win! Everyone in the stands high-fived and screamed and just in time we ran out of Mexican coffee.
Walking out of the stadium, sun in our eyes, Columbia pride in our hearts, we found the mysterious shuttle to take us back to campus. Declaring our ditching friends dead to us, Actual Soccer Fan and I agreed that it’s a shame more people don’t go to Columbia athletic games. It was a wonderful break from the monotony and a great excuse to sit outside in this perfect fall-transition weather. Columbia really doesn’t give students a lot of wins–and not just in athletics–so it was amazing to feel this fulfilling success. Or maybe that was just the tequila.
The next home game is this Wednesday at 7 pm against Manhattan. Get out there and support, or be forever dead to us.