Thursday, July 8, 2010

On Being Open-minded

I never was a fan of soccer. I never wanted to watch those little figures on the TV screen kicking a ball. I turned my back on soccer matches, fans and stadiums. I don´t feel comfortable in crowds and I´ve always equated soccer to violence. After all, they had to fence soccer fields in Europe because of violence. Referees and players have been killed because of a bad game.

On the other hand, I declare myself to be open-minded. Hmm, I suppose that is contradictory.

As some of you may know, I´m half Spanish and half American and I live in Florida. By chance I saw the last part of the World Cup match that put Spain in the semi-finals. I couldn´t believe how excited and even moved I felt watching them win. I almost cried. Then I realized that soccer can also generate good feelings. It made my Spanish blood flow and I made a mental note of the day when the semi-final would take place, which was yesterday.

Not knowing much about soccer, at 2.30 pm ET, I just checked out the players. On Facebook my girlfriends and I joked about which player was the hunkiest. I liked Capdevila and my friends rooted for Xavi or Villa. Is this frivolous or what, but … it was fun.

Gradually my interest shifted from the guys to their moves, and I found the game exciting. They were playing beautifully, and every time the Spaniards nearly scored a goal, I held my breath. All of a sudden I was one of those who screamed and rooted for their team. I cried when Spain scored its GOAL. Ah, my dear Spain! I wrote patriotic status updates on my Facebook page, I chatted with my lexicographer dad who usually prefers to have his eyes poked out than watch soccer (but watched the match too), and when Spain won, I called my 9-year old daughter who is still in Seville, watching it all and most importantly, feeling it! For a moment, I felt like I WAS in Spain!

Yesterday soccer moved me, it brought me closet o my friends, my family, my fellow Spaniards and I feel good because I was able to be open-minded and enjoy that. I felt a small success – overcoming my aversion to soccer, and having been moved to tears when listening to the Spanish National Anthem, enjoy a well-played game and feeling closer to all my Spanish friends who are scattered around the globe.

And on Sunday, I wish I could be in Spain on that historical day when it will play the FINAL in the World Cup! My daughter will be there, my sister too, and I´ll be in Florida, connected with by Facebook, by phone and in spirit, with La Furia Española.

So today, I´m a bit more open minded than yesterday, more alive … and that´s a good thing. I highly recommend it.


  1. I want to be there to watch the Final with you.
    Again, your writing makes me feel like I'm there with you! Enjoy the game on Sunday.

  2. I want to say again how happy I am for you and all of Spain! After all, if I go back far enough I too have roots in Spain!

  3. This was my first world cup and... my last!! I enjoyed it and suffered an awful lot! But Spain won a good game in spite of the Dutch dirty tricks. Also, this country needed an uplift... I am only sorry I cannot participate and enjoy soccer... I guess I am missing something. I should be open minded like you. Delfin