Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mexico wins!

I don’t even know where to start, but here’s a shot.

I should have known something was up when I saw a guy all trussed up as Uncle Sam Wednesday morning in the hotel lobby. He didn’t have the white hair and KFC goat to go with his getup, and he was very likely of Mexican descent, but he was Uncle Sam all the same. Not an hour later, I learned Mexico would be taking on the United States for a shot at the World Cup happening next year. As in futbol. As in soccer. And what was I doing instead of watching? Why wasn’t I glued to a TV or finagling myself into a sold-out-for-weeks stadium? Oh, you know … doing my job.

I’ll fast forward through the middle part of my day, as it consisted of overpriced taxis, garbled Spanish and talking to some kind folks, taking some pretty photos of them and other stuff of that ilk. (I’ll write their stories later. I’ve plenty of notes.) However, one of them was gracious enough to offer her TV so we could catch the end of the game. We saw that fated second goal, the one Mexico made … the one that changed the tides a bit and broke a tie. It was the last goal of the game, the one that effectively won the game for the country. She cheered long and loud about that 2-1 final score and we tried not to sulk.

The good part was that we made it back home some hours after the game had ended. They didn’t think that’d happen. As a result of the win, the street surrounding our hotel was actually closed off. The friend driving us there had to stop a couple blocks away and we had to cross a couple of angry policemen to get to where we wanted to be. We even got called some Spanish names I best not repeat here.

On the way, I saw an old, frail man being helped to the sidelines of Reforma Street, lest he crash his drunk body down and break something brittle. Saw another guy holding his buddy up by the back of his pants, saving him from meeting a similar fate with the concrete. And, by our hotel, there were about a hundred policemen, wielding their plastic shields, just waiting for something to happen. Eh, mostly they looked bored, but it was still plenty bizarre.

See, there’s an angel of sorts right in front of this place. When Mexico wins, it’s tradition for everyone to come over to the angel and celebrate, running circles around it and cheering. A lot of crazy things have been said to happen, though, so the cops are on hand just in case. They even protect said angel with a fence surrounding it. And the celebrating? It’s like Mardi Gras and New Year’s decided to combine forces. It’s one of the happiest, loudest times I can recall even being partially part of. There are crazy green, white and red wigs being hocked. There are some crazy loud noisemakers being blown. There is running and laughing and soapy foam being sprayed at pretty much everyone.

We entered that storm, simply because it looked like an unpredictable, chaotic party (and because, well, Dan wanted to be that party’s pro photographer). There were waving flags and cheering and popular questions like “Are you American?” Why no, obviously, we were Canadian so, well, you don’t have to put your knife in our guts. I kid, but these winners were sore winners. One guy even told us not to speak any English while we were there and we would be just fine. Otherwise, we were likely to get good and punched. Or worse? It never happened, I did get foamy soap sprayed directly in my eye and got asked to pose in some photos, but all ended well. Essentially? We were walking props. And targets.

Ah, the passion and the pride of Mexico runs deeper than I ever knew. It even makes me want to dust off my cleats and get back to playing some futbol when I get back, all over again. Let’s hope that feeling lasts.


heather said...

ohhhh dainon. that's my favorite picture in a long time.

Mel said...

No knives in the gut please. Sounds like a crazy mad party.

sir mister landlord sir said...

I'm surprised that little scenario didn't cross my mind as you took off for Mexico City about the same time the US Men's National Team did. I'm glad you experienced it safely.

paul said...

Decent article about the game you missed.