Throwback to 2010. We had been living in Argentina for about 4 months, which means we were basically Argentinian at that point. A few of us had chosen to fly and a few crazy people chose to take the 10 hours bus ride to Buenos Aires for El Bicentenario (bicentennial) celebrations. One of my more organized companions had organized tickets to go to the last international friendly before Argentina left for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The match was against the far less competitive Canadian team. Lets be honest, there are some countries who are not naturally talented footballers–for all you proper people.
It was pure chaos! Simply getting into the stadium was a feat. Fights broke out between Argentinians before the match even started. We slowly made it to the upper level seats where we were met by a friendly enough gentleman who told us he could help us upgrade our seats for a mere 100 Argentinian Pesos. He was in a neon yellow vest, so we thought it was legit. Turns out it was some guy who just put on a vest and showed people to their new seats just to make some money. The realization that we got scammed kind of sucked, but he had done it to a number of people and we were able to keep the much better seats.
I have been to my fair share of sporting events in the US, but none of those had prepared me for that experience. Soccer matches last roughy 90 minutes, and in Argentina you stand and yell for 90 MINUTES. Even with my sufficient knowledge of the Spanish language I had no idea what half the chants were saying, but we made sure to stay out of our seats and cheer with the best of them!
The match itself was not particularly entertaining, Argentina defeated Canada 5-0. But today, as I sit here writing this waiting for the US vs Germany Match to start in Brazil, I am reminded of the incredible patriotism the Argentinians have and how much the power of sport really has. As Nelson Mandela once said, “Sport has the power to change the world…it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.” Sometimes the games we play are just the games we play. But as Mandela’s past reminds us, sometimes they are so much more.
LETS GO USA! #ibelieve
*Prompted by the Daily Post*