Scott and Angie Engelhardt, the co-founders of StormFans.org, have traveled to Beijing to take in the women's basketball competition, other games in the Olympics and see China. You can follow their journey in their blog, Scorpions on a Stick (as already eaten by Scott).
Yesterday (today?) was their first day at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium, and Scott does a great job of offering the color of what it's like to be inside the arena. Here from the China-Czech Republic matchup:
Inside, it was a sea of red. When the Chinese national anthem was played, the whole arena sang, some of the Chinese around us sang the song with a lot of force and emotion. This is a huge deal for them. Then Yao Ming showed up, as I described earlier, and the crowd went crazy.
They had one main cheer they did. It was a call and answer. One person would start and say the call phrase and the crowd would answer “Cha Yo.” I’m not sure what it meant, but it was going on all game long, sometimes in small groups and sometimes with the whole arena in unison. I felt a little sorry for the Czech players who had to face that. It was impressive and had to be daunting.
Yeah, I'm taking the hosts over Belarus to advance to the semis. Scott's post is very detailed and more than worth a look.