Every post has started out like this lately but fuck it, I’ll mention it again.
TURKEY LOVES SPORT
You know when you state an opinion and/or make an observation? Then in the next few days you’re going about life when a moment happens, a moment validating your opinion?
That happened lots in regards to the Turkish loving sports.
I was usually solo during the moments, so I smiled to myself. Satisfied as. You do that too…right?
My memory isn’t always the greatest so I noted down things I experienced that said Turkey + Sport = Love.
1. Wrestling To Get Tickets To A Basketball Match
Tickets were sold out for the Besiktas vs. Galatasaray basketball derby before I could get my hands on one. I went to the stadium on the day to see if any scalpers were selling tickets.
I soon realised I was wasting my time trying to get a ticket. There was a bunch of others in the same shoes. I had the disadvantage of not being able to speak Turkish.
As the game started no one had managed had scalped a ticket, but there was one guy more desperate than the others. He was asking everyone entering the stadium for a ticket acting agitated. No security or police stopped him from being the nuisance he was.
~10 minutes after tip-off I left, most already had. As I went back out past security, the desperate guy ran up to me with an older guy in tow. Speaking 100 miles and hour, arms flailing, I couldn’t work out what he was trying to say. Any chance of charades working was long gone.
I think he was asking for 100 Turkish Lira to get tickets from the older random guy he’d found. Talk about making a decision in a matter of seconds. Was that for two tickets? Why didn’t he want the tickets? It was confusing.
I declined as the tickets started at 30 TL online, and given we were 150 metres or so from the stadium everything felt a little bit too scammy. I never realised but the stadium provides a sense of security and legitimacy when buying tickets from scalpers. And what would I be buying!?
As I carried on, I turned around to a noise, a bit of a kerfuffle was taking place.
The desperate guy and the older guy were now wrestling! It was crazy, after half a minute or so they both ran back towards the stadium. Who bloody knows what was going on, but it was crazy to see how badly this guy wanted to go to the match.
2. The Guy At Vodafone Park Not Eating
As I toured Vodafone Park (Besiktas), a father in his 40’s was on the tour with his family and he thankfully took me under his wing (the tour was in Turkish). He was a lifelong Besiktas fan, season ticket holder, and even convinced his wife to change allegiance (maybe she switched to avoid endless debates).
I asked him what he thought about the 2-1 loss to Sivasspor the night before. If he was at a poker table, you’d spot his weakness in a heartbeat, he was genuinely gutted when I mentioned the match.
He said he had skipped dinner as he couldn’t stomach the loss. He said that happens after most losses,
luckily for him Besiktas is a pretty successful team.
I’m pissed off when the Canterbury Bulldogs lose, but I still eat. He reminds me of Gary Vaynerchuk following a NY Jets loss, he gets pisssed off. Inspirational to watch the passion.
RELATED POST: BESIKTAS MUSEUM AND STADIUM TOUR REVIEW
3. The Pure Noise Generated By Besiktas Fans
Vodafone Park, the home of Besiktas FC, is known as one of the most intimidating stadiums in football. The fans generate so much noise, opposition teams have said it has affected them. Poor old Timo Werner even left the field due to the noise in 2017.
The Besiktas Fans have found an extra way to support their team with their noise echoing around the ground and will carry on throughout the match. It’s not exactly comfortable to be in the stadium when it’s so noisey, but they do what they’ve got to do to give their team an extra edge.
The World Record Holder for the loudest recorded roar in a sports stadium goes to the Kansas City Cheif fans, with 142.2 decibels.
Besiktas aren’t too far behind with their PB of 142 decibels on May 11, 2013 at former home, Inonu Stadium. So far at Vodafone Park they’ve reached 135 decibels on April 11, 2016, against Bursaspor (Besiktas won 3-2).
4. Seeing Istanbul Based Team Merchandise Shops In Antalya
Antalya is 600km+ away from Istanbul and have their own football team, Antalya Spor, playing in the top domestic competition.
But not everyone in Antalya, regardless of their roots, supports them (people tend to follow teams from where they were born).
The drawing power to the big three Istanbul based teams (Besiktas, Fenerbahce, and Galatasaray) is massive due to their involvement during wars in the past. So much so they’ve got dedicated merchandise shops in Antalya!
I saw shops for Besiktas and Galatasaray and given Fenerbahce is the biggest of the three, surely there’s a shop for them to flog of gear in Antalya somewhere.
Update: there is, thanks Big G.
Sports may run in the Turkish blood, but loyalty to their ‘home’ team isn’t like most of the world.
Back home, if there was a Wellington Hurricanes shop in Auckland, that’d be a quick way to throw money down the drain.
RELATED POST: SPORTS FAILS IN TURKEY
The Turkish passion for sports is epic. These were four of the examples I wanted to share.
- The desperation of people trying to secure tickets to a sold-out match
- Not being able to eat dinner after a loss
- Creating so much noise in the stadium, other teams are affected more than usual
- Seeing football shops selling merch from a different city is bonkers to me
I could have carried on but four mini-stories is enough to have you convinced yea?
Best of all, it often helped get conversations started when getting rides while hitchhiking. If I mentioned football, Besiktas, Galatasaray, or Fenerbahce, eyes would light up and away we’d go.