Monday, October 23, 2006

Soccer in Argentina: A sport, or... ?

I've always wondered why is soccer so important for people in Argentina. I must say that it is indeed a good sport and some of the matches use to be exciting, however these adjectives just fall short in Argentina, where people think of soccer as an important (and, I'd dare to say, even essential) part of life.
This fanaticism is noted when you are able to read in newspapers around the world that fans from opposite teams in Argentina cause riots inside and outside the stadium, only to show their "support" to their team. It is not rare that, in some occasions, those riots have injured or even dead people as consequence. Could it be any worse?
Well, yes. I'm afraid to say that, although this behaviour seems to be the lowest possible, there are even more ridiculous things to criticize. Or, at least, there is one: The way they worship Diego Armando Maradona, a good player during the decade of the 1980's and half of the 1990's.
Believe me, it's not normal to think of a player the way the Argentinian fans (commonly known as hinchas) do. It's not normal to see a soccer player as a god, as many of them do. As a proof of that, consider this: some people in Argentina founded an institution named the "Maradonian Church". Who could believe that the case is so sad, that some hinchas come to the extreme of showing posters like the one in the picture below?

The text beside Maradona's face reads: "Thanks, god, for being Argentinian". And the guy holding the poster looks so proud of showing this message!!!

I summarize my thoughts about this phenomenon in two words: Simply pathetic.

Cheers, guys.


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