So, on Thursday we went with 40 other foreigners and a couple Mandarin teachers to see China’s women’s soccer team beat New Zealand 2-0 in the new Olympic stadium, and it pretty much rocked.
I got an old slogan banner from some of our neighbourhood’s more ‘official’ comrades (they wear red cloths around their arms), and we cut it up and painted it to make the karate kid head bands and two bigger banners. We mostly yelled 中国队加油! (Chinese team, add gas!)… they do it as a call and response. The banner in the photo says, 铿锵玫瑰加油! (Steel Roses, add gas!) The team’s name gets translated as the “Steel Roses,” but it’s hard to explain because it’s not literally steel, but the sound make by forcefully striking steel objects together… or something like that, only no doubt much more poetic. As long as you don’t think of redneck 80’s bands, “Steel Roses” gets the idea across I think.
One thing we didn’t expect was how people responded to us – a pile of foreigners cheering for China. Jessica, myself, and a fellow language student from Germany went early and waited just inside the stadium grounds for some of the others. We had our China stuff on, and I think had literally hundreds of photos taken of us. People would come up and ask to pose with us. And this happened continuously until we finally went to our seats. But then in our seats, we were loud and yelling and starting cheers and stuff, and the sections around us seemed tickled that we were going for China. After the game people came up to get even more photos. It was kind of weird, but I sure don’t feel bad anymore for all the photos I’ve taken of locals! ;)
Probably the coolest thing that happened all night was in the second half when little American girl, maybe 7 years old, started a cheer all by herself. All of a sudden this high, thin little voice cut through the chatter: 中国队! And we immediately responded: 加油! She kept it up, every time more and more people joined in, and the people in the sections around us turned around to look, and in the section next to us they started clapping for her! It was pretty cool.
Speaking of cool, here’s a fun kung-fu soccer ad for China’s 2003 women’s team. And here’s a video (in English) on this year’s China women’s team.
One more photo.