Porteños and their Soccer Madness
If you click on my profile picture and enlarge it, you will see me in the foreground an Argentine friend of mine sitting next to me wearing a white and red cap. This picture was taken in the River Stadium during a soccer match between River and Boca. My friend is a Boca fan, but since this game didn't offer any visitor seating, she went with my girlfriend (who's behind the camera) and I, despite the fact that she hates River.
Well, let me tell you that during the game she was about ready to kill herself. Every time Boca scored a goal the whole stadium became deathly silent and she bit her lip, trying not to say anything. She was worried, and rightly so, that if she stood up and started cheering for Boca, the people around us would literally kill her.
Getted Outted As a Soccer Traitor
Well, today she informed me that her brother, who is a River fan, found my blog and the picture of her with a River cap on. The first thing he did was call her husband (who is also a River fan) and inform him. After that he called her coworkers at her office and told them as well. So, now they are all making jokes that she is a "fake Boca fan" and not a true supporter of the team. In fact, she asked me to remove the picture.
So, before I do remove it, I just wanted to share this with everyone so they can see the extent of the soccer madness that pervades Argentina. Being an expatriate, I don't have a preference for one team or the other. I'm happy to go with all my friends to the various games. However, this would never be considered by people who live there.
My friend and her husband both love soccer, but because they support rival teams, they will never go and see a game together. In fact, if they did go to a game together, they'd sit apart in different sections since they support different teams. Maybe there are people like this in the USA, but I sure haven't met them.
It Starts At Birth
One of my former coworkers once told me a story about his young nephew, who was only three or four at the time. Since different people in the family supported different teams, they were each trying to recruit the boy into becoming a fan of their favorite team -- all this before he could even understand the rules of the game. It was a literal contest between the people in the family. They had a fresh and impressionable mind and they were in a race to secure his allegiance to their soccer team. I forget now who it was that said it, but one of the members of the family would tell the boy, "Only homos support such-and-such team, you should be a fan of my team instead."
If its true that there's an individual hell for all of us, I think that damned porteños will be forced to sit through soccer matches of their favorite team and watch them lose game after game. You can always tell who is River fan and who is a Boca fan the day after the match. If River won, the Boca fans will literally be walking around town in a depressed stupor, as if a family member just died. This might even go on for several days. The River fans meanwhile, will be grinning all day long and will be walking around with a little skip in their steps. You'd think they just won the lottery.