Friday, August 08, 2008

2008 Beijing Olympics: Men's Soccer @ Wangfujing

Yesterday I was walking on Wangfujing at night. It seemed to be like a good area. There were a lot of people walking around, hanging out and enjoying themselves.

3 building-sized screens have been put up on the buildings of Wangfujing. They were broadcasting Chinese channels and various Olympic coverage. Local citizens even brought out their stools to hang out and just watch TV with everyone else.

As a friend and I walked up Wangfujing, we saw a huge crowd gathered watching the Men's soccer prelim match between China and New Zealand. After a brief discussion, my friend and I got a beer and joined in the festivities.

I estimate that there were atleast 500-1000 people in my area watching the soccer game. There were people yelling and screaming. There were "中国加油" chants and even imporptu Chinese National Anthem singing. It was definitely a sight. A lot of media were present. Some took pictures and others even joined in the fun.

At around the 65th minute, New Zealand scored their goal. There was a sense that the collective air got knocked out of everyone's guts. The chants went silent and everyone was nervous.

At the 87th mark, and after more than 20 minutes of unsuccessful scoring opportunities by the Chinese team, it seemed that it was almost over. The crowd had almost lost hope that China would score. Finally someone got everyone to stand up for the final few minutes.

So just as everyone stood up, it happened. China scored a GOAL!!

It was pandemonium. Everyone was going CRAZY. I high-5ed a lot of people and miss high-5ed some too. But the feeling was great. For the final few minutes of the match, everyone was yelling and screaming, greatly enjoying the match, especially the CHinese team's performance. Remember, this was the first goal in Olympics or World Cup history for Chinese Men's Soccer.

What a way to start the Olympics!

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