Buenos Aires Travel Blog› entry 1 of 6 › view all entries
The time is almost here for the 2006 Copa Mundo! Most of the world is getting super pumped and excited to see their national team play, except for Argentina (and the U.S. which half the population has never even heard of the World Cup). Argentineans are quite interesting to watch and observe during the World Cup. Of course, everyone knows what times the games are and whom Argentina is up against in the first round. But instead of being excited and thrilled to see their team play, they are anxious and nervous.
Football is very serious here in Argentina. As Gabriel said, they sweat and pray and swear all throughout the games. There isn’t much cheering (until they celebrate a victory at the end) or “rooting on” the team to victory. It seems like it’s much more serious. This obviously doesn’t mean that they don’t care, it just means they take their football to a new level and they take everything personally.
I was talking to one Argentinean on Tuesday and he was already very worried about the games. He came across almost scared in a way, though in the brackets that he made, he placed Argentina as getting 3rd in the tournament. I know he has faith in his team, but I think the weight of keeping up Argentina’s reputation around the world really stresses everyone out.
After doing so bad in 2002’s World Cup (they didn’t make it out of their group), I think this Argentinean team has a lot of pressure to do really well. I’m sure 2002 was very embarrassing to the entire country, since Argentina has always been looked at as a leader in football. I know the country probably put a lot of pressure on the 2002 team since they had just been through the awful economic crisis; the country needed something to look up to and make them feel proud. Unfortunately, they couldn’t pull through.
There are always the die-hard Argentineans who always think their team will win, no matter what the conditions. I was talking to my boyfriend (a soccer player and fan) on the phone in the telecabina near our residencia. The man who owned the store noticed the bracket on my computer had Brazil winning the World Cup. He knocks on the window exclaiming, “No, no! Argentina! Argentina!”, with a distasteful look on his face. I’m sure he wasn’t thrilled to see someone putting the rival Brazil as the champions. I talked to him and asked him his opinion and he definitely felt like Argentina would be the champions without a doubt.
I love the patriotism here. I mentioned that to the guy I was talking with at the residencia and he said, “No, no. It’s much more than patriotism.” He couldn’t explain it precisely in English, but he basically said that football is so much more important and crazy than exclaiming it as “patriotism.” It’s so much more than that. It’s hard for me to understand, since the United States is so different.
I’m proud to live in the United States, most of the time. Yes, there are many things that we do and have done wrong, but we are also an excellent country and people. As for being very patriotic and proud of my country like the Argentineans are, I can’t relate. I guess I’ve always been brought up to be proud of my country. “We’re the best! We’re #1!” That’s all you ever hear. So when we perform at the Olympics or against other countries in any sport or competition and we do well, I feel like it’s almost guaranteed. “Of course we’re going to win or do well.” That’s what passes through my head. I think there is also a bit of modesty in the US about our abilities. We’ve been a great country for so long, there’s no need to brag or rub it in other countries’ faces that we won so-and-so or we developed this first, etc.
Sometimes I feel like we’re the father figure and other countries are the children. I know I personally celebrate more when an underdeveloped country succeeds in something than when the US succeeds. I realize I am making huge generalizations that are mostly personal feelings. I hope there are more Americans who feel the same as I do, though I know it’s probably a small percentage.
Back to the World Cup, I hope Argentineans can relax and try to enjoy the matches, though I know it’s a small chance that will happen. The same guy I was talking to also mentioned that they don’t drink before or during the game. If they win, they will certainly celebrate afterwards. If they lose, they will drink their sorrows away. I thought this was so interesting and different from American sports. Lord, we drink before, during, and after the game. That just says something about binge drinking in the United States…