It was hot. The hottest day in the past month or so. Combined with the ever-present cloud of smog covering downtown Bangkok, the effect was uncomfortable, to say the least. It was on this hot day, on the 5th of February 2011, when the annual Thammasat-Chulalongkorn Soccer match was held at National Stadium, a sports complex that plays host to the country's most important sports events.
Thammasat University and Chulalongkorn University are the two top schools in all of Thailand, and effectively have a huge rivalry that transcends most American teams. This is the biggest and most anticipated sports event of the year for university students, and was quite possibly one of the best days I have had in Thailand.
Along with my friends Buck, Mae, and Ekk, we left Rangsit in the early afternoon in order to arrive in Bangkok around game time. When we arrived there were rituals of all kinds, the most strange of which was the faculty of Architecture banging on drums and chanting as they were crouched near the ground slowly walking in a circular path around what must have been the leader of their group. It was a little unnerving, to tell you the truth.
|These are all the different 'faculties' in our University (nursing, engineering, etc.) Mine is the purple flag|
Once inside the stadium, we found some seats near the top row with some more friends (on the Thammasat side, of course. We are students there after all). The bleachers were absolutely packed. On each side of the stadium behind the goal nets was a cheer group from each university taking up the entire section of stands. Throughout the game they would all held up a colored poster, and together all the posters blended together and made a picture or a taunt to the other team. They wrote some really clever stuff! To understand some of them though, you need to know that Chula is a really rich school, and they often use that to 'look down' on Thammasat (playfully, of course). Some of the signs insinuate that Thammasat is a poor school. See below ;)
|CU - TU 67|
|Thammasat is Red/Yellow, Chula is Pink/White|
|YouTube[ตูบ] - doobp (ตูบ) means 'hut' or 'shed' (they're saying we have old technology)|
|I can't make out this writing, can you??|
Altogether there were probably about 30 pictures and signs from each team throughout the course of the game. Some of the ones not listed here that I remember were 'Do you have 3G yet, Thammasat?', 'TU Farmers', and 'That was a fluke' (for when someone scored a goal).
|ยูงทอง - This is the name of the Thammasat song (Yoong Tawng)|
|ธรรมศาสตร์ - (Thammasat)|
|Picture of the king|
Thammasat scored first and the crowd went wild. I think the entire student population from both Universities was there, the energy was brimming. By the end of the game we had lost 1-3 and a lot of students were quite upset. But after the game was over, each of the cheer groups made condolences to eachother with their signs.
|We are Friends Forever :)|
Even though the game was over, the ceremonies were not. The cheer squads from both Universities lead their students in their respective school chants which was really awesome to watch. I did not know the words but it was really a spectacle. Then there were songs lead by each choir, and amazingly everybody was singing, boys and girls alike. After that there were a few ceremonies to honor the king and then the bands started playing. After everything was done, we were allowed on the field. We took a lot of pictures and talked to a lot of new people. It was absolutely the most exciting sports even I have ever attended.
After we left the field, a few of us went to a Pakistani/Indian restaurant and ordered curries, nan, and hummus. It was a really satisfying meal. It was a little pricy but totally worth it. Afterword we took a taxi back to Rangsit.
If you ever get the chance to attend the Thammasat-Chula game, do so immediately! Do not miss out!