Buenos Aires Travel Blog› entry 7 of 11 › view all entries
Passion for sport is common throughout the world. The drive to be number can consume a culture and sometimes a nation. In Argentina, the undeniable passion that unites the entire country is futbol. What is it that a ball can do to bring together millions of people? How is it that men and women of all ages can sit down and have a conversation about who played well in the past national team exhibition match. It can be compared come sort of fever which is contagious to every being it comes into contact with. In the United States there is no sport that binds together the population like this. The National Football and Baseball leagues are light years behind ha ving the impact on the lives on people that futbol has in South America. Why is it that this difference exists? Because from the time they can walk and until they can run, a ball is placed at a child´s feet.
This past week we visited a futsal club where many young players come to train. All of them have the same hopes and dreams, to one day play professional futbol. The walls of the center are decorated with the many jerseys of players who have gone on to play for the Argentine national squad. Every youngster that walks through the doors hopes to one day be on those very walls. What makes this worth mentioning is that kids as yound as 4 and 5 years old can be found training on the futsal courts. The kids are first taught the fundamentals through the game of futsal. It is played with a smaller ball and slightly heavier, to train the player to first learn foot skills over aireal fireworks. The discipline instilled in the player from starting at such a young age is as irreplacable as the love for the game that is fostered within. Also, these kids do not just play for the promised money of professional sports in the United States, but want to play for pride. The leagues in Argentina are not the best place to make money for a futbol player. However, that does not stop many from doing whatever it takes to put on a uniform for a club team. These players do not play for money or fame, but play for pride and the glory of putting on a show for the fans.
A fan is not merely an observer in Argentina at a futbol match. He is a fanatic. Never stopping to rest except at halftime, the fan chants and moves in unision with his mates as the crowd cheers on the home team. Complacency is not used to describe the loyalty for the fan who pours his heart out to support the club he loves. What makes the fan in Argentina different is that there is no age class or demographic that limits who loves the game. Everyone has a favorite team and lives and dies with the results of the national squad. Even the cleaning lady on the night shift at our residence cheers for River Plate when we mention futbol within an ear shoot of her. Always being involved and living for the moment of victory, emotions rule and never stop for futbol in Argentina.