Those of us who wore the jersey in those days didn’t go out out to redeem the frustrations of the pueblo but to defend the reputation of our country’s football. No less than that, but nothing more – Jorge Valdano
In these dead days before la Selección jets off to South Africa with their sparrings, meat and super-heated toilet seats, there’s not much to talk about. Will Jonás play right back against Nigeria? Will Maradona resign before the 4th of June squad deadline and admit it was all a big joke? or Grondona remove his mask and prove right those who claimed he was Satan himself? Will Verón run really fast for 90 minutes before taking out a set of United and Chelsea jerseys and mock wipe his sweatless brow? Will Messi boot a penalty toward the corner flag and rip off his jersey to reveal an I ♥ Catalunya t-shirt?
Who knows, so lacking some actual information, pegamequemegusta has decided to bring you a brief blog entry from today’s Olé. It’s by Jorge Mario Trasmonte and goes under the headline ‘Patria Futbolera’ [literally ‘Footballing Fatherland’]. After the last few days of incessant national anthem-cantillating, we were gringoishly hunting for a piece on the links between politics and sport in Argentina or even one attacking the lack of political autonomy in the AFA. This is the best we could do, however. And since even pegamequemegusta saw itself caught up in the nationalist fervour after the frankly incredible scenes in the Plaza de Mayo tonight, where all the Presidents of South America walked in procession from the Casa Rosada to the Cabildo,the article has also been chosen as it rescues the positive side of national brotherhood at the end. (You can read the original here).
“The concept of a ‘Patria Futbolera’ has become rather denigrated. It’s usually used when the expressions of genuine football fans are appropriated for insidious aims, generally of a politico-cultural bent. It is invoked as a sort of opiate which would have us floating in a dream cloud blissfully unaware of what’s going on in the country or in the rest of the world.
“Our country’s history doesn’t deserve to be trivialised to such an extent that on the day Argentina turns 200 years old we happily confuse the facts and trace parallels between the team that’s going to the World Cup and the Wars of Independence or Alberdi’s ‘Bases’ [“Bases and Starting Points for the Political Organization of the Argentine Republic”, which would become the Constitution of 1853]. These grandiloquent metaphors are nothing other than a journalistic game legitimised over time: yet Maradona has his place in history while San Martín and Favaloro have their own. Nor is the history of our country exactly as we were taught in primary school, where surrounded by statues and portraits we were regaled by simplistic tales of immaculate founding fathers. Later one learned bit by bit that some of our classroom heroes had their miseries, too, their egos, their setbacks and misadventures.
“Yesterday we gave la Selección a pleasant send-off for the World Cup. There’ll be no sin if during this month of agonising sporting encounters we feel more Argentine, if we sing along with the national anthem and palpitate along with this jersey-turned-standard. We can put all our differences aside and forget whether we support Boca or River, Independiente or Racing, Estudiantes or Gimnasia, San Martín or Atlético, and we may even rediscover what unites us and come out stronger than before.
“There’d nothing wrong with that. As long as we remember that that’s not all our country is.”
Y los libres del mundo responden:
‘Al gran pueblo argentino, ¡Salud!’
More pictures here.