Dunlaps in San Salvador

Online journal of the Dunlaps' adventures in San Salvador.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blue-White Passion

I let two students write about soccer for the blog. I'm sure there could have been more. But I could not deny Jose the opportunity to write about his favorite sport - he is such a big fan. Here's his play-by-play:

Salvadorians have a left/right political barrier, and that is the main problem right now in our country. But there is one thing that unites us. It's what people follow, feel, and live no matter what is happening. When the match day is announced, people started making plans around it. People don't rest until tickets are sold out. This sport is like the "main religion." It's our "same language" and it's our "beloved obsession." I'm talking about soccer. Soccer is like a seesaw. Sometimes, the national team plays really well and everyone just can't stop talking about that. But there are some times that the team plays badly and it becomes a non-desirable. Win or lose, the whole country follows the adored "Selecta."

To our fortune, and the players too, the Salvadoran team is doing quite well now. There's this blue-white euphoria because we are prevailing against the most competitive adversaries. El Salvador has a respected soccer reputation because we have qualified for two FIFA World Cups. But the catch is that we haven't had a decent team for almost ten years. That's too much time for us - the unconditional fans whose world revolves around soccer.

In the past year or so, we were playing badly. We were underrated in the FIFA rating and had to play two different matches before entering the group stage. The teams that often play these matches are the lesser teams like Anguilla or the Virgin Islands and other small islands in the Caribbean. We, as fans, were furious at the decision made by FIFA. We were worried because at the end of the first match, we would have to play a stronger team, like Panama. Salvadorians started to get worried because Panama knocked us out from the first group stage last time.

The road started when we were paired up in a game versus Anguilla. Nobody knew who that team was or any famous player, or, in other words, any good player from Anguilla. Just days later, the newspapers started doing their job. The whole country was now aware that Anguilla didn't even have a FIFA approved stadium! Imagine that! The newspaper articles asked "what do you think the score of the game will be?" The predictions made were between 4 to 6 goals to 0. One of the people interviewed said 12-0! That would surely be some triumph!

All these speculations continued until the match day finally came. The whole stadium roared. 45 thousand blue-white fans were singing the same anthem, dreaming the impossible, living the same passion: a victory to soothe doubts and critics. The starting whistle was blown and the ball rolled and there was no Salvadorian who wasn't watching the game. We started with a 2-0 in the first 15 minutes. It looked like an easy game. Before the end of the first half, we were already 4-0.

Who would doubt a Salvadoran victory? Anguilla has no professional soccer players. Most of them are firemen, policeman and electricians. The whole stadium was about to explode and it was worse when our home team went in the pitch again. What we didn't know was that the party hadn't even begun. The goals came, one after another, after another, until we reached the final whistle with a fantastic score of 12-0 - just as the fan predicted! Everyone was in a state of something between goose bumps, exaltation, and joy. It is just something you must feel our passion to live, that Blue-White passion that unites us.


Blogger Gary Henderson said...

Susan, please tell Jose he has a serious future as a writer if he wants it. He writes very well. Since I also love soccer, his piece was very interesting to me.

I hope the family is well. I see your mom from time to time for a chat. Usually it's when I drive past her house and she's in the yard walking around.

I was delighted to see you are following my blog. Now that I have your blog address, I'll be doing the same with yours from Spartanburg.

Call if you are here for the holidays.

Merry Christmas,

Gary Henderson

6:39 AM  

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