Now, I know that soccer is different in Central and South America (and Great Britain) than it is here. Different than any sport here, actually.
I’ve seen Green Street Hooligans, and I know that the fans / gangs are often the worst part of the experience, and that their actions often have nothing to do with the outcome of the game.
Anyway, we went to the game with our Honduras friends and had a great time.
The game was exciting – both teams got SO close to scoring, but it never happened. One shot even bounced OFF the goal posts!
Here’s (L to R) Oscar, Walter, Bob and Cindy – Oscar was excited for the game
Not only was the game exciting, but the views were beautiful. There aren’t many places where the soccer stadiums are enclosed by mountains.
Our Honduran friends were great to have with us – they knew everything about these two teams, which were apparently the 2 biggest rivals in Honduras: Olympia and Montagua.
All in all, the game was fun. No one scored, but there was no overtime, so we walked out from a 0-0 game and started heading to our van.
At first, everything was fine.
We saw a few fist fights, which I expected, but kept walking and eventually found Walter’s truck.
Well, we ended up never moving to the van.
We’re still not sure what started it, but the fans/gangs/groups from one of the teams were fighting with the police.
We couldn’t see anything (even though we were RIGHT by the gate they were coming out of), but we heard lots of gunshots (what we thought were fireworks since they had those in the stadium) and people were saying that rocks were being thrown.
Our Honduran friends forced all 8 of us into Walter’s truck to keep us safe. At that point, things were kind of crazy, but we still couldn’t see anything other than big groups of people running back and forth past the truck.
I even took my camera out to try to get a couple of shots of how we were crammed in – Nick was on my dad’s lap in the back seat, then Gabby, then Nick’s mom and I was on her lap in the seat behind the driver’s seat.
Walter was in the driver’s seat and Merle and Bob were crammed in the front seat with him, situated around the gear shifter.
I don’t think any of us realized how serious things were outside of the truck.
Tear gas had been set out by the police and shots were still going off.
Right after I took this picture and put my camera away, someone ran past the truck and hit Walter’s drivers side mirror, and then we heard (and I felt) this big bang on my door (the door behind the driver; my back was up against it and I was in Cindy’s lap in this seat). We all figured it was a rock that was thrown, since that had been happening right around us earlier.
By that time, we were just able to get out of there, but the only way to go was THROUGH everything. We couldn’t back up, so we had to drive through the tear gas clouds to get out of there.
We got back to the hotel, and everyone was safe and healthy and fine. But when we went around the side of the truck to see the dent from the rock, we saw this instead.
Yeah, that’s not from a rock.
The bullet went in the door and never came back out.
If this had been shot from any other angle or height, it would have been in the truck and hit either me, Nick’s mom, or both of us.
3 people died in the craziness that happened after the game, and about 12 were injured. There was a lot on the news there the days after questioning how the police reacted, what started it, what else could have been done, etc. We heard a few things that might have started all of this, but we just don’t know for sure.
Our friends there even said that they go to games all the time and they had never seen anything this crazy before. Maybe all the political stress there is affecting the police force, maybe some things happened that no ones about except the people that were there. We don’t know.
There are some videos on youtube that show (what we think) is the cop who shot the truck and some of the stuff that was happening, but one part is not easy to watch and I didn’t want to post it. This wasn’t a movie or something exaggerated. This was real. Families are hurting, and people died who had nothing to do with what happened.
It’s scary knowing that something was so close to being fatal. I mean, I know anything can happen at any time, but it’s different seeing how close something got to you.
And just to prove that I’m really not making this up, I even have the bullet.
Do I plan on going back to Honduras? Yup. I hope many, many more times. As much as I can afford.
Do I plan on going back to a soccer game in Honduras? That….I’m not sure of Or we’ll at least stay IN the stadium for at least 30 minutes and let everyone else head home first.