Fútbol and viajes

12 Jul

I really love soccer. Watching or playing, it was my life for many years, and I’m happy to have it continue to be a part of it in its many international permutations. Though I might not be as up to date on all the stats, the back-room drama or games, I could really watch anything, anytime.

Currently, there are two huge tournaments going on, the Copa America, and the Women’s World Cup. Luckily, Colombia is soccer crazy. Sadly, Colombia is not crazy for women’s soccer (or women being anything other than super feminine). So, while I would prefer to be screaming at the television cheering on the US women’s national side, reminiscing that scorching day in ’99 at the Rose Bowl when I was in soccer heaven, covered in gold and white confetti after the US women eked out a win in shoot-outs, I instead get to watch Latin American politics play out (via soccer) in a way that is sometimes bizarre.

There are certainly rivalries in international soccer (or any sport) that come with their own history of dramatics and bitter enmity. The fans hate each other, the players hate each other, and that energy informs the game (which is usually filled with colorful yellow and red cards). The US and Mexico have this kind of rivalry (though storied it ain’t, considering that the US men’s national side has only recently emerged in the last decade-ish as a team that may give a top side a run for their money, on a good day, when the US team has had a good, sound sleep, a strong breakfast and everyone is in top form), and so do Argentina and England (Hand of God, anyone? anyone? Bueller?).

What I didn’t know is that everyone hates Argentina here in Colombia. In fact, most of South American hates Argentina. I was even told that when anyone plays Argentina, the rest of South American roots for that country to take out Argentina at the knees, and everyone rejoices when they lose.

It turns out Argentinians don’t have a great cultural image here in South America. While many Colombians may sing songs about Che Guevara, it turns out his countrymen are a bunch of a-holes (though many would argue that Che also has a darker side to his image; immaterial to this post). You see, Argentinians tend to think of themselves as white, and discriminate against anyone who appears to be brown. As it turns out, the majority of people living in South American have some brown in them, and this does not make them happy. Thus, the rivalry of South America vs. Argentina.

As if I needed any other reason to root against Carlos Tevez, amiright?!

Uruguay–another country that looks down on the brown–also has a bad rap, but it turns out that in every war fought in South America, Uruguay tends to be trampled. Thus, despite the antics, people feel more bad for them than they do angry.

And, finally, tomorrow Greg and I are headed to Santa Fe de Antioquia. It should be relaxing and beautiful. Medellín isn’t really a classical colonial pueblo, and much of the city has been built up in the 20th century, leading to more modern infrastructure. Santa Fe was the  original capital of the state, found in the 16th century, and is supposed to be charming, sleepy and quaint. Totes excited!

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One Response to “Fútbol and viajes”

  1. Lea Anthony July 13, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

    Interesting rivalry South America vs Argentina. Maybe the Nazis finding safe haven there after WW2 has something to do with it. They were after all, quite white.

    Too bad you cannot go to a sports bar and cheer for the USA. The women’s team has been breathtaking to watch. We would be screaming and hooting together.

    Sounds like you will have an interesting adventure in Santa Fe de Antioquia. Although how could is be more laid back than the four friends fling at the finca? Great pics of the macaw and dancing, but good you sent no flying bugs. Thanks for that.

    Have a safe time and buy a HAT.

    Kisses my sweetheart. Mom

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