SportsAbstinence syndrome

    Abstinence syndrome

    Hector Herrera loses the mark against Messi, in Argentina's first goal against El Tri.
    Hector Herrera loses the mark against Messi, in Argentina’s first goal against El Tri.MOLLY DARLINGTON (REUTERS)

    Dear Martin:

    I send a through ball, knowing you’ll get to the ball. What is a correspondence but the desire to meet the other in an unexpected place?

    Indifferent to geography, the cards generate their own space. During South Africa 2010 we had an exchange in which football was an unusual meeting place. You traveled the world like a hopeless nomad (you even reached a World Cup stadium) while I, an incorrigible sedentary, watched the games from Mexico. Our homeland was the field, a word that the Quechuas gave to the language and which means a fenced area. That piece of grass that is defined by its limits has ways of becoming inexhaustible. The most effective way to reinvent it is the through ball: you throw the ball into a wasteland that will be occupied. Writing correspondences has that reactive condition; things occur to you based on the other.

    Epistolary novels often omit the hard-working character who makes them possible: the postman. The email ended with that intercessor and with philately. Some only wrote letters to receive replies adorned with the Queen’s portrait or a Bengal tiger.

    Our correspondence can do without the postmen, but not the stamps, more varied than those of the Panini albums. With the anticipated nostalgia that you opportunely mention, I think of Richarlison’s acrobatic goal, Brazil’s double wall against Croatia, Luis Suarez crying on the edge of the field, the eleven Moroccans kneeling before their people, the silence of the Iranians when they heard their anthem, Luis Chavez’s unstoppable free kick against Saudi Arabia…

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    There are two games left, the one that nobody wants to play, for the imaginary third place, and the coveted final. On World Cup days, Eduardo Galeano took refuge behind a sign that said: “Closed for soccer.” The difficult thing is to place the opposite poster to recover the habit after the goals. Life is not a business that can be closed or opened at will. On withdrawal Monday you keep thinking about plays; you look at the pepper and salt on the table and wonder if they are midfielders or central defenders. Unfortunately, no detox for acute football has been invented.

    The only remedy is to think about the next World Cup, in which my country will be an extra. The real headquarters will be the United States, which won that right when the FBI exposed the corruption of FIFA. As usual, Mexico and Canada supported Big Brother in exchange for consolation matches.

    But let’s not get too far ahead. Your hopes for Sunday are huge and justified. France has great players, but they arrived diminished by too many absences and now three of theirs have the camel virus. Napoleon arrived in Egypt with less decimated troops, but Deschamps’ real problems lie elsewhere: his team suffers from the indolence of those who know they are powerful and Argentina yearns for victory with the tragic sense that determines champions. The desire for Messi to lift the only cup that has resisted him, the passion of the crowds that fill the 9 de Julio street, the famous Abuela that has become a neighborhood cabal and the predictions of numerologists suggest an albiceleste triumph.

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    But it is convenient to limit the predictions. Soccer is so strange that its best prophet has been the octopus that guessed the results of Germany 2006.

    Have you ever wondered why certain countries are passionate about a World Cup in which we will not be able to stand out. The Argentines have two stars on their chests and have missed another. But the passion for football is so broad that it includes those of us who only break negative records.

    Without intending to brag, here are some records that not everyone has. In 1930, Mexico starred with France in the opening match of the World Cup, conceded the first goal and suffered its first defeat. In the next game, we scored the first own goal. Since then, our failures have been sustained. If the calculations do not deceive me, we have lost 28 games in World Cups, an unmatched number. We are one of the five countries that have participated in the match the most times (the others, Brazil, Germany, Italy and Argentina, have several titles to their credit). This assiduity has made it possible to achieve astonishing statistics. From 1930 to 1958, we went through four World Cups without winning a point, and it took 32 years for us to achieve a victory.

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    No country has brought so much emotion for so few results. Now that yours are getting ready to be champions, I think of the illusion without reward of mine, of the people who fill the stadiums without depending on the score, just for the pleasure of being there. Is there a rational explanation for this? The mystery, of almost theological rank, can be understood, but not said. Javier Solis expresses it wonderfully in the ranchera song: “Whoever knows about love, keep quiet and understand.”

    With the authority of failure, I wish you success on Sunday.

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    Source: EL PAIS

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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