Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Площа Повстання 3: The Metalist Stadium

There's one more major attraction near Площа Повстання. We've covered the Horse Market, the yeast factory, and the giant stone head, but the real reason most people come to this part of town is the Metalist Stadium.
If you're a football (er, soccer) fan, then you already know that Metalist is the name of one of the professional teams here in Kharkov. Metalist has been around since the 1920s and currently is a mix of Ukrainians, Argentinians, and Brazilians. My Texan friend (the one with the beautiful new apartment, video домофон, and bathroom sauna) lived in the same building as one of the players.

The stadium can accommodate up to 40,000 fans, imagine!! It was filled to capacity with rowdy spectators during the summer as the city hosted several Euro 2012 matches. For great photos and stories from a Peace Corps volunteer, read Working with the EuroCup 2012 Ticketing Team in Kharkiv.
Even a regular game night is a big deal. Since I'm not a huge sports fan, watching the hyped-up, blue-and-yellow painted fans hustle and bustle their way through the metro stations is usually exciting enough for me. Either singing or shouting, the fans are never quiet!
One of my friends, a Ukrainian transplant now living in the American South, recently returned to Kharkov for a visit. When I asked him about the differences he noticed between Ukraine and the US, his answer included this: "Even though people [in America] are crazy about watching sports on TV, if you go to a sports game here, it's boring as hell. No chanting, no crazy home made banners, no insulting but funny rhymes about the opposite team and their fans... If you've never been to a Metalist game, go to a good one. If you've been to one with some mediocre team - again, go to a good one. The action from the fans you'll see there you will never ever find here in the States."
So, I guess I should get my act together and go!
Is anyone else in town up for visiting a game?

You may have noticed that these pictures were taken ages ago, long before the winter descended upon us. In fact, it was so long ago that the rose garden was still in bloom near the metro station. {sigh}
To get to the Metalist stadium, you can to take the metro here (Площа Повстання) and then walk several blocks or you can simply exit at Спортивна.

See you at a game? : )
Metalist Stadium lit up for a match.
Practice fields near the stadium. They're open in the winter too- the snow is cleared off and men are busy chasing the ball around in track pants and long sleeves!

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