Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Another First

The past few weeks have included a few “Indian football firsts.” I travelled to football mad hill city of Shillong for my first time, had a meeting in the historical (and impossible to describe) Mohun Bagan Maidan for the first time and now I’ve finally experienced my first Bengaluru FC home match.  I know it’s crazy that up until now I'd not been to a BFC match especially given the fact that the club’s immediate impact both on and off the pitch last year was the best thing to happen to Indian football since Baichung Bhutia. 

Anyway, I happened to be in Bengaluru last week for meetings and scheduled my trip so I could catch the Tuesday night 7pm BFC game against Sporting Club de Goa. I was excited about everything set up for the evening: meeting my colleague Pinky at UB City before the match, getting to see the match with one of my favorite families, the Varshneya’s, the awesome seats the club set up for us, the perfect Bengaluru weather and, of course, having the opportunity to watch many of the players we represent live on the pitch.  The only part of the plan I wasn’t overly thrilled about was the fact that the match was set to take place at the cavernous Kanteerva Stadium and not at the loud, intimate KSFA stadium which is currently under repairs. 

My experience was positive.  BFC started slow but then dominated a strange Sporting Club de Goa team which seemed to do everything right except kick the ball into the net.  Although I saw glimpses of the young, passionate supporter base BFC tends to attract, there were far less people than I thought would be in attendance.  Guess this could be mainly blamed on the fact that the match was on a Tuesday evening at 7pm in a city which is known for parking lot traffic and the fact that Kanteerva Stadium just doesn’t offer the same raucous ambience as KSFA.

After the match, many supporters stuck around to drum, dance and revel in the club’s victory. It was the kind of innocent fun which reminded me of the post match stadium scene after a High School American football game.  The Varshneya’s and I stuck around as well and mingled with the Bengaluru football community and then walked 5 minutes down the road to UB City to celebrate the home team’s win at one of the city’s best Italian restaurants.  All in all it was another positive “first” for me.  Hope 2015 brings many more….

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