The boisterous support of Brazilian fans usually serves as an advantage to their teams, but for the blind football matches being played at the Paralympics, it’s proving to be a challenge for the players.
As Lionel Messi recently found out, sounds are an integral part of blind football. From the bells inside the ball to the voices that help guide the blindfolded players (to ensure that everyone is equally lacking in sight), fans need to ensure that the players can hear everything going on around them. And for the Brazilian supporters, this is proving more difficult than you might think.
From a Reuters article about the match between Brazil and Morocco that reads like something out of The Onion:
“Silence please,” the referee called to the stands once more. Brazil’s coach shook his head in despair. […]
As the crowd wrestled with how to show their support, the “shhhhs” of fans demanding quiet were often louder than the cheers they were hoping to stop.
“It’s so difficult. We’re trying but we really want to shout,” said Sonia Lima, 54, at half time when the noise level rose with collective relief that silence was, for a few minutes at least, not necessary.
Watching with four friends all dressed in Brazil shirts and waving flags, Lima said the silence felt unnatural. “When they get near the goal I just want to scream: ‘Take a shot dammit.’”
Brazil ended up coming back from 1–0 down to win 3–1 and provided an interesting learning experience for their country’s football fans in the process.