I hate Facebook but I love Fútbol

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argentineboyFacebook, you either love it or you hate it. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with the ever so popular cyber “social connection.” It’s a total time sucker. However, since my travels began late last August, Facebook, as I’m sure many of you have realized, has been the best way to communicate with fellow travelers and newly made friends.

I will share with you a little Facebook story. Before I came to Buenos Aires I spent endless hours on Craigslist trying to find an apartment, which I have to say is a great way to find an apartment. In my searching and emailing I met a student from Mexico who is earning a Masters in Architecture at the University of Buenos Aires and lives in Buenos Aires. He was unable to find me an apartment, but he was one of the first friendly faces I encountered upon my arrival. We chewed the fat, discussing our shared passion of soccer, which should be noted is called fútbol, and from there I learned what Facebook had to offer.

Join the group Ocampo Fútbol and play fútbol twice a week with a group of ex-pats, travelers, and Argentines. Originally created by native Texan, Omid Ghaemmaghami, Ocampo Fútbol has gained more than forty members and continues to grow. I recently played with the bunch and found myself in an international battlefield of skill, strategy, and wit. Every pass, goal, and water break was followed by some remark in Spanish, English, Swiss, or German.

We were a melting pot of skills and language. Do not be intimidated by the level of play, all participants come to have fun and play a good game. However as fun as it is, I would suggest players have some knowledge of the game and previous playing experience, I would not show up totally green. The cost is 10 pesos, about $3 US, to play for 2 hours.

Getting to the field was an adventure in and of itself. My friends and I took bus 67 from Av. Sante Fe in Palermo Soho, which cost 90 centavos, about 35 U.S. cents, and adventured off on a five minute journey to barrio Recoleta. The short ride was more like a trip in a travel machine. Within these five minutes the bustling narrow streets of Palermo Soho transformed into wide avenues lined with fancy high-rises and embassy buildings. My friend whispered to me, “This is the safest area.” Noticing the Land Rovers parked all along the streets in front of their owner’s mansions, I had to agree.

Then, almost as suddenly as the neighborhoods changed on the bus ride, it seemed as though we went from the posh suburbs to the rundown slums on the other side of the tracks. In fact, we were literally on the other side of the tracks. It was hard to miss the cracking and hissing of a train overhead as we passed under the elevated track to the parking lot where a dozen caged-in turf fields awaited.

If you are at all like I am, traveling is about meeting new people, learning about a new culture, and finding a common interest. Undoubtedly, this group is all about fútbol. Whether you are in Buenos Aires for two days or five months, check out the group and take a break to experience a cross-cultural activity. And don’t worry about your Spanish level; this group is all about the love of the game.

Facebook group: Ocampo Fútbol
Field Name: Ortiz de Ocampo #3219


Emily Crawford on March 11, 08

I played soccer in high school – our team was the worst in the district. It was a painful experience but I fell in love with the sport. I haven’t played since though. I think I’m still suffering from embarrassment!

César González on March 11, 08

Ok, I don’t know whether this is relevant or appropriate, but it’s funny! The Idea of Soccer

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