How fantasy knowledge of the Premier League turned into two VIP-tickets to the Champions League final and a meeting with one of the best cyber sports teams in the world.
How it began
In early April, the fantasy provider FanTeam announced the big tournament named Stairway To Champions League Heaven with main prize - a trip for two to the Champions League final. At the end of the 38th round of the Premier League, I masterfully won this tournament (details - in a post in the telegram channel), and then there were difficult ticket searches, difficult routes (Minsk - Vilnius - Milan - Madrid and Madrid - Alicante - Domodedovo - Minsk), half a day at the Santiago Bernabéu, but compared to the crazy Saturday all this stuff is uninteresting. So just go to the morning of June 1.
The bad news
Bjørn Fjellby (one of the top managers of the fantasy room), who stayed with us at the same hotel, had to give us tickets. At 11.00, he invited me and my girlfriend to the lobby and broke the terrible news to us: "No tickets". The broker, who has been successfully involved in the delivery of tickets to sporting events for a long time, suddenly announced that there had been some problems and he could not get tickets.
My emotions were difficult to express. Firstly, I have been a fan of Liverpool since 1998. Secondly, a trip to the Champions League final thanks to your favorite hobby is a story of a lifetime. I immediately made it clear that no monetary compensation will solve anything, because the trip to the stadium at that time was already invaluable. Bjorn understood everything and promised that he would do everything possible and impossible to get us to the game.
We had to relax somehow, so we did not lock ourselves in the room, but rushed to the center of the Liverpool fan zone. After a dozen of songs and a couple of beers, we returned to the hotel, and the tedious hours of waiting and talking with Bjorn followed. For example, representatives of the company who were also left without 12 tickets for their clients because of this broker, came and explained the situation - we were not the only ones who flew past the Champions League final. At the same time, a friend threw off the v1lat’s post (the main eSports commentator of the CIS) on Twitter, where he said that he was in the exact same situation and was ready to give any money for 2 Metropolitan tickets. In general, around 18.00, less than 3 hours before the match, there was no hope left.
And then, something in this world has gone backwards.
Having lost the full optimism, we wandered into the room to change clothes, and then go to the city center, find some place in the bar and have fun with English fans. While leaving the room, I saw a person who seemed familiar to me. He was wearing a Bobby Firmino's shirt (my favorite Liverpool player) and immediately recognized No[o]ne (player of Virtus.pro, one of the strongest teams in the world in Dota 2) in him , who was breaking into the room opposite.
Here it is necessary to make an important update that I am a big fan of Dota. I destroyed bots on Ursa 15 years ago, I was sick on the ASUS’s for PGG, a fan of ArtStyle, and I will never forget the dream-coils from s4.
The conversation with No[o]ne began with a clumsy question in English (did not switch after a whole day of communication with Bjorn), then, of course, we quickly switched to Russian and it turned out that VP also arrived at the final and were also left without the promised tickets.
We were not the only ones who were affected. After a small talk, we went to our room, spent some time there and left in a slightly more upbeat mood. And we saw RodjER (another VP player) on our way - Nun was breaking into his room before. On the way downstairs we were talking, and I learned that Solo also came with them (one of the most respected players on the DotA stage).
While we were waiting for Solo, we talked with Roger and his girlfriend - they were extremely friendly guys. And after a couple of minutes I noticed that Solo was the same. And with the guys from VP, x3m4eg also rested (CEO of the studio Maincast). Only positive emotions remained after the conversation with all the guys and I took a photo to remember about having met all of them , and the next day I found it in the official group Virtus.pro.
Thank you, guys! Hopefully this year Aegis will be yours! After all, you saved us from a potential failure.
After this pleasant meeting, the mood clearly improved, the path to the subway was no longer so sad, and after 3-4 minutes, halfway through, the telephone rang. We did not have a local SIM card, there was only roaming without the Internet, so I just did not see a mountain of messages from Björn in all messengers. He urged us to return to the hotel. If we had been in the subway, or if we had gone far away, we could have simply miss the call. In general, if it hadn’t been for those 10-15 minutes with VP, things could have turned out quite differently.
Upon returning to the hotel, it turned out that the Björn´s efforts were not in vain. I don’t know who he hooked up or sold his soul to solve this issue, but the company that left us without tickets seriously took up the problem. According to the latest information, a courier on a motorcycle rushed to us with two tickets, and not category A, which were originally, but VIP categories. It was difficult to believe in, and we were just holding breath in anticipation.
Half an hour later, the courier came running with two cherished boxes. It was just an hour to the match, but a taxi was waiting for us. Then everything was blurred: we rushed through traffic jams, ran through some field, waded through inspections, reach Metropolitano 20-30 minutes before the match, still doubtful about the authenticity of the tickets, pass the last control point, open the VIP door Lounge and fell into a parallel reality.
You come to the bar to take a cocktail - next to you is Xabi Alonso. You go to the restroom - you relieve yourself with Adriano Galliani. Trying to find our places in the sector - the Portuguese trio Deco-Costinha-Maniche is looking for them together with you. You go to your armchairs, and Sami Hyypia is chatting with someone nicely. In general, the complete feeling that all this is not with you, and you just watch the next match on TV.
In the lounge area there was an endless set of delicacies and alcohol for every taste, but I really did not try anything and almost immediately ran to the sector to inhale the atmosphere of the stadium. I know that match was boring for many people who watch it, but I did not sit down for a second at the stadium. Important men in strict suits regularly turned around on a crazy guy in shorts, who was yelling, jumping, clapping and waving a scarf. A bright man was especially dissatisfied, he very much resembled the famous Turkish butcher Salt Bae, but who cares about someone’s discontent when the Champions League final is held?
After Origi's goal I could barely hold back tears, and after the final whistle there was another hour and a half of celebrations and well-deserved rest in the lounge. Liverpool exalted and celebrated in the fan sector, we enjoyed the endless songs of the fans and the tomfoolery of the players, while I thought about the Ballon d'Or of Van Dijk, or about my psychological state just 12 hours ago.
By the way, before leaving, I still slightly trolled the ex-Everton coaches David Moyes and Roberto Martinez - walked past them and asked for a photo only with Gareth Southgate.
Do you already have a feeling that I fabricated of all this or at least embellished it? Me too! Two days have passed, I am already sitting in Minsk, and it still seems to me that all this was not with me.
You obviously noticed my weird scarf. It is 12-13 years old, and it was somehow obtained in an unknown way after the great victory of Liverpool in 2005. I watched that match on TV and after the victory I turned the house inside out and upside down (now you understand how important it is for me to take photos of Xabi Alonso?). Then I was in high school in Bobruisk, and at that time getting to the finals of the Champions League with the participation of Liverpool, and even with this scarf at the ready, it seemed unreal. But miracles in this world really happen.
The red shirt I am wearing, of course, not Liverpool, but the uniform of my amateur team Libertas. It was necessary to get to the Champions League final, at least in this format.
Finally, I pay my respect to Bjorn for persistence in finding tickets and the whole fantasy provider FanTeam for continuing to push my favorite hobby into the European masses. I am sure that this is not the last tournament with such cool prizes, and I really hope that the next winners will experience the same incredible emotions at their dream match.
You can follow the development of fantasy movements with the help of my telegram channel, where you can find even more photos and videos from Madrid.