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Article by Pim Zuurveld
We left our home plenty on time to complete a couple of challenges before we would have the opportunity to sit down. So, we parked at the athletics track and found our organizers under a rectangular instead of a round sign (yes you need have a strong imagination to visit a soccer match). With our tickets in hand, together with a couple of other very imaginative TIC members, we set out to find our seats.
We consulted with some local friendly regulars who apparently had an even stronger imagination than us. “The seats are numbered” Right… Thankfully one seat in our row had a number so we could figure out where our seats were… Quite happy with ourselves, we crashed on our partially numbered seats and started taking in the atmosphere.
Looking up, we had clear skies, the moon, a roof over our head, a heater element… not bad, (it was starting to get cold….) ahead of us the pitch. Our seats were close to the center line and we could see both teams getting ready for the match. A bunch of kids were inflating the round logo of Willem II under the supervision of a rather friendly lion. It seems we were in the right place…
The match started at 19:45 and it was interesting to observe how soccer play of any level makes a 7 year old rather thirsty and hungry. So, before I knew it, our goody bag was empty and the blanket was out to keep him warm… The play could have also used some heat, so the players stopped for a break to have their traditional cup of hot tea with sugar…
I, on the other hand, was on a completely different mission finding the restrooms, a working coin conversion machine, avoiding men doing what only men do during breaks…, finding my 7 year old a hot dog. You guessed it, I missed the first moments of the second half and boy things had heated up!
The play definitely was benefitting from my 7 year old eating his hotdog. The referee finally decided that soccer is indeed only played with your feet when you are not the goalie, much to the dismay of both teams at any given moment. Yellow cards were being flashed at individuals and before the hotdog was finished a penalty kick was awarded to the visitors… Oh boy….
After the penalty kick, the visitors decided to celebrate in front of the section where their supporters were seated. Peculiar as it may seem, this was right next to the “King Side,” the section claimed by the die-hard home team supporters. The “Kings” decided to treat the players with some drinks and food items (yep, hot dogs too). One would wonder if this is what happened to the seat numbers, too? Anyway…
The match continued, so did the munching, and soon thereafter, the hot dog was finished and a second goal had been scored by AZ. The home crowd was getting more and more unsettled with the events on the pitch. My 7 year old decided that he had seen enough. Believe me, he pointed out everything he had seen through eyes glimmering with excitement the whole time we were there.
It was time to go home. We left the other TIC members to enjoy the rest of the match and headed out.
Thank you TIC for organizing this event, the stadium was sold out!!