I had never set foot in Spain…I had no idea what was so special about soccer…but as an international exchange student from the U.S. I knew one thing – I loved sports.
January 2014. It was my first night in Barcelona, and I was already attending an F.C. Barcelona game. Messi had just returned from being injured, and he electrified the crowd with a last second goal. This wasn’t just a sporting event – soccer is a religion in Europe. The game had me on the edge of my seat…the enthusiasm from the crowd had me hooked from the beginning…there was nothing more I wanted than to be fully immersed into this historic team.
One of my favorite hobbies is collecting memorabilia. I wanted to find a way to meet the team and add some amazing pieces to my collection. With the help of Lifestyle Barcelona, they allowed me to fly with the team to a road game in Sevilla where before boarding, I was able to meet all the players, get some great autographs, and snap a few selfies too. Everyone was willing to sign, but just know that your time is limited, so when you see them walking towards the gate, your on your horse trying to get as many as you can which makes it even more of a thrill. This was an experience I’ll never forget, and this only propelled my devotion to the team even further.
This was a once in a lifetime experience, one that I still cannot believe happened, and one that any sports fanatic must embrace if the opportunity presents itself. The game in Sevilla was unreal. Barcelona won in the pouring down rain, and it was surreal knowing that I flew with them there and back while they were vying for the La Liga title. I met friends on the trip that I am still in contact with to this day – even though I am back in the U.S. You get out of it the energy you put into it…and if you’re considering it and don’t know if it’s worth the investment – do it, because the opportunity just might not be there the next time around.
Travis Shirley (US)
Link to personal video of the experience: https://vimeo.com/86413217