Friday, June 16, 2006

Vamo, Vamo, Vamo Argentina

”Some people believe futbol is a matter of life and death. I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”
Bill Shankly, Manager, Liverpool FC (English Soccer Team)

Welcome to our life in Argentina during the World Cup. While I have always thought of myself as a fairly big sports fan, nothing in my past prepared me for the World Cup in Argentina. I thought it was pretty amazing that on a Saturday afternoon the streets were empty and you could barely order a pizza – but that was just the warm up. No one here was that excited to beat the Ivory Coast after all – I mean the challenges facing the Ivory Coast are pretty legendary. And, Argentina only scored two goals (to the Ivory Coast’s one goal).

But following the 6-0 whooping that Argentina put on Serbia/Montenegro you would have thought that the Argentine government had found a way to resurrect General San Martin himself. The streets were filled with people honking horns, running around draped in the Argentine flag and wearing jester hats in the Argentine colors. I think the closest thing I can image in the US would be living in Phoenix when the Cardinals win the Super Bowl (but we all know that is never going to happen).

While I agree a big win like that in the World Cup is a big deal, I guess no one here is taking into account that Serbia-Montenegro was without three of its best players or that the Serbian government recognized Montenegro as a separate country one week prior to the game. You have to think that having your country come apart the week before a match would hurt team morale some. On the other hand it could create a great rallying cry “this is the last time before our divorce”.

An interesting side note: the star for Serbia-Montenegro was a young man named Milosevic. I have heard that name somewhere before…..

Anyway, without saying anything to offend our deeply nationalistic soccer friends (if we have any such friends) we have become Argentine Futbol fans for the year. Mia proudly wears her Argentina camioseta (t-shirt) and I wear my Argentina training shirt on game days (Jan wears black because black doesn’t attach her to any nation/state and allows her to continue to fight the oppression inflicted by hegemonic power systems). Even Mia’s school got into the act with all of the students watching the game and painting their faces. As we drove past another school the entire student body was standing on the street jumping up and down singing “Vamo, Vamo, Argentina”.

I have to admit I am not a Futbol/soccer fan and never have been, but being here during the World Cup is as much fan as I have ever had rooting for a sports team. When Argentina wins everyone in town is celebrating including us (I don’t know what will happen when they lose). We are still rooting for the US team to make a comeback against Italy (so we can hold our heads up in this soccer crazed world), but rooting for Argentina is an amazing amount of fun.

OK enough of that. I am off to get our flag waving (Argentine flag that is) kid from school.

Vamo Estados Unidos! Vamo Argentina!


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