18. Galeano Soccer Extracts

18. Galeano Soccer Extracts - SOCCER IN SUN AND SHADOW $5?...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–24. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 2
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 4
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 6
Background image of page 7

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 8
Background image of page 9

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 10
Background image of page 11

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 12
Background image of page 13

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 14
Background image of page 15

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 16
Background image of page 17

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 18
Background image of page 19

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 20
Background image of page 21

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 22
Background image of page 23

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 24
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: SOCCER IN SUN AND SHADOW $5? EDUARDO GALEANO TRANSLATED BY MARK FRIED VERSO 38 1-1 some Arab and Eastern European countries. FIFA slammed all the doors on the Algerian team, and the French soccer league blacklisted the players. Imprisoned by contracts, they were barred from ever returning to professional activity. But after Algeria won its independence, the French had no alternative but to call up the players the fans longed for. irrrrrrrr the blacks IN 1916, in the first South American championship, Uruguay beat Chile 41—0. The next day, the Chilean delegation insisted the game be disallowed, “because Uruguay had two Africans in the lineup.” They were Isabelino Gradin and Juan Delgado. Gradin had scored two of the four goals. Gradin was born in Montevideo, the great—grandson of slaves: he was a man who lifted people out of their seats when he erupted with astonishing speed, dominating the ball as eas— ily as if he were walking, and without a pause, he’d drive past the adversaries and score on the fly. He had a face like the holy host and was one of those guys who no one believes when they pretend to be bad. Juan Delgado, also a great—grandson of slaves, was born in the town of Florida, in the Uruguayan countryside. Delgado liked to show off by dancing with a broom at carnival . . z: .- g "'5 ,1 a and with the ball on the field. He talked while he played, and he’d tease his opponents: “Pick me that bunch of grapes,” he’d say as he sent the ball high. And as he shot he'd tell the keeper: “Jump for it, the sand is soft.” Back then, Uruguay was the only country in the world with black players on its national team. zamora HE MADE his first division début when he was sixteen, still wearing short pants. Before taking the field with Espafiol in Barcelona, he put on a high—necked English shirt, gloves and a hard cap like a helmet to protect himself from the sun and other blows. The year was 1917 and the attacks were like cav— alry charges. Ricardo Zamora had chosen a high—risk career. The only one in greater danger than the goalkeeper was the referee, known at that time as "The Nazarene,” because the fields had no dugouts or fences to protect hiln from the vengeance of the fans. Each goal gave rise to a long hiatus while people ran onto the playing field either to embrace or throw punches. Over the years, the image of Zamora in those clothes became famous. He sowed panic among strikers. If they looked his way they were lost: with Zamora in the goal, the 39 net would shrink and the posts would lose themselves in the distance. They called him “The Divine One.” For twenty years, he was the best goalkeeper in the world. He liked cognac and smoked three packs a day, plus the occasional cigar. samitier LIKE SAMOBA, Josep Samitier made his début in the first divi— sion when he was sixteen. In 1918 he signed with Barcelona in exchange for a watch with a dial that glowed in the dark, something he’d never seen, and a suit with a waistcoat. A short time later, he was the team’s ace and his biography was on newsstands all over the city. His name was on the lips of cabaret chanteuses, bandied about on the stage and revered in sports columns where they praised the “Mediterranean style” invented by Zamora and Samitier. Samitier, a striker with a devastating shot, stood out for his cleverness, his domination of the ball, his utter lack of respect for the rules of logic, and his Olympian scorn for the borders of space and time. .3“ death on the field ABDéN FORTE, who wore the shirt of the Uruguayan club Nacional for more than two hundred games in four years, always drew applause and sometimes cheers, until his lucky star fell. T hey took him out of the starting line—up. He waited, asked to return and did. But it was no use, the slump contin- ued, the crowd whistled: on the defense even tortoises got past him, on the attack he couldn’t score a single goal. At the end of the summer of 1918, in the Nacional stadi— um, Abdon Porte killed himself. He shot himself at midnight at the center of the field where he had been loved. All the lights were out. No one heard the gunshot. They found him at dawn. In one hand he held a revolver JP friedenreich and in the other a letter. IN 1919, Brazil defeated Uruguay 1—0 and crowned itself champion of South America. People flooded the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Leading the celebration, raised aloft like a stan— dard, was a muddy soccer boot with a little sign that pro— claimed: “The glorious foot of Friedenreich.” The next day 41 that boot, which had scored the winning goal, ended up in the display window of a downtown jewelery shop. Artur Friedenreich, son of a German immigrant and a black washerwoman, played in the first division for twenty— six years and never earned a cent. No one scored more goals than he in the history of soccer, not even that other great Brazilian artilleryman, Pelé, who remains professional soc— cer's leading scorer. Friedenreich accumulated 1,329, Pelé 1,279. This green-eyed mulatto founded the Brazilian style of play. He, or the devil who got into him through the sole of his foot, broke all the rules in the English manuals: Friedenreich brought to the solemn stadium of the whites the irreverence of brown boys who entertained themselves fighting over a rag ball in the slums. Thus was born a style open to fantasy, one which prefers pleasure to results. From Friedenreich onward, there have been no right angles in Brazilian soccer, just as there are none in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro or the buildings of Oscar Niemeyer. from mutilation to splendor IN 1921 the South American Cup was played in Buenos Aires. The president of Brazil, Epitacio Pessoa, issued a decree: for :; gr 3' 4 reasons of patriotic prestige there would be no brown skin on Brazil's national team. Of the three games they played, the white team lost two. Friedenreich did not play in that championship tourna— ment. It was impossible to be black in Brazilian soccer, and bein g mulatto wasn’t easy either. Friedenreich always started late because it took him half an hour to iron his hair in the dressing room. The only mulatto player on Fluminense, Carlos Alberto, used to whiten his face with rice powder. Later on, despite the owners of power, things began to change. With the passage of time, the old soccer mutilated by racism gave way to the splendor of its diverse colors. And after so many years it is obvious that Brazil’s best players, from Friedenreich to Romario, by way of Domin gos da Guia, Leonidas, Zizinho, Garrincha, Didi and Pelé, have always been blacks and mulattos. All of them came up from poverty, and some of them returned to it. By contrast, there have never been blacks or mulattos among Brazil’s car—racing champions. Like tennis, it is a sport that requires money. In the global social pyramid, blacks are at the bottom and whites are at the top. In Brazil this is called “racial democra- cy,” but in fact soccer is one of very few democratic venues where people of color can now compete on an equal footing. Equal up to a point, because even in soccer some are more equal than others. They all have the same rights, but the play— er who grew up hungry and the athlete who never missed a meal don’t really compete on a level playing field. But at least soccer offers a shot at social mobility for a poor child, usually black or mulatto, who had no other toy but a ball. The ball is 4:3 44: the only fairy godmother he can believe in. Maybe she will feed him, maybe she will make him a hero, maybe even a god. Misery trains him for soccer or for crime. From the moment of birth, that child is forced to turn his disadvantage into a weapon, and before long he learns to dribble around the rules of order which deny him a place. He learns the tricks of every trade and he becomes an expert in the art of pretend— ing, surprising, breaking through where least expected, and throwing off an enemy with a hip feint or some other tune from the rascal’s songbook. the second discovery of america FOB PEDRO ARISPE, homeland meant nothing. It was the place where he was born, which meant nothing to him because he had no choice in the matter, and that was where he broke his back working as a peon for a man who was the same as any boss in any country. But when Uruguay won the 1924: Olympic title in France, Arispe was one of the winning play— ers. While he watched the flag with the sun and four pale—blue stripes rising slowly up the pole of honor, at the center of all the flags and higher than any other, Arispe felt his heart burst. Four years later, Uruguay won the Olympic final in Holland. And a prominent Uruguayan, Atilio Narancio, who ' c _;-" i - . . mam-«amusement " ‘ f in ’24 had mortgaged his house to pay for the players’ pas— sage, commented: “We are no longer just a tiny spot on the map of the world." The sky—blue shirt was proof of the existence of the nation: Uruguay was not a mistake. Soccer pulled this tiny country out of the shadows of universal anonymity. The authors of those miracles of ’24 and ’28 were work— ers and wanderers who got nothing from soccer but the plea— sure ofplaying. Pedro Arispe was a meat—packer. José Nasazzi cut marble. “Perucho” Petrone worked for a grocer. Pedro Cea sold ice. José Leandro Andrade was a carnival musician and bootblack. They were all twenty years old, more or less, though in the pictures they look like senior citizens. They cured their wounds with salt water, vinegar plasters and a few glasses of wine. In 1924', they arrived in Europe in third—class steerage and then travelled on borrowed money in second—class carriages, sleeping on wooden benches and playing game after game in exchange for room and board. Before the Paris Olympics, they played nine games in Spain and won all of them. It was the first time that a Latin American team had played in Europe. The first match was against Yugoslavia. The Yugoslavs sent spies to the practice session. The Uruguayans caught on and practiced by kicking the ground and sending the ball up into the clouds, tripping at every step and crashing into each other. The spies reported: "It makes you feel sorry, these poor boys came from so far away. . . ” Barely two thousand fans watched the game. The Uruguayan flag was flown upside down, the sun on its 415 446 head, and instead of the national anthem they played a Brazilian march. That afternoon, Uruguay defeated Yugoslavia 7—0. And then something like the second discovery of America occurred. Game after game, the crowd jostled to see those men, slippery like squirrels, who played chess with a ball. The English squad had perfected the long pass and the high ball, but these disinherited children fi‘om far-offAmerica didn’t walk in their fathers’ footsteps. They chose to invent a game of close passes directly to the foot, with lightning changes in rhythm and high—speed dribbling. Henri de Montherlant, an aristocratic writer, published his enthusi— asm: “A revelation! Here we have real soccer. Compared with this, what we knew before, what we played, was no more than a schoolboy’s hobby." Uruguay’s success at the ’24 and ’28 Olympics, and at the 1930 and 1950 World Cups, owed a large debt to the government’s policy of building sports fields around the country to promote physical education. Now all that remains of the state's social calling, and of soccer, is nostal— gia. Several players, like the very subtle Enzo Francescoli, have managed to inherit and renovate the old arts, but in general Uruguayan soccer is a far cry from what it used to be. Ever fewer children play it and ever fewer men play it gracefully. Nevertheless, there is no Uruguayan who does not consider himself a PhD. in tactics and strategy, and a scholar of its history. Uruguayans’ passion for soccer comes from those days long ago, and its deep roots are still visible. Every time the national team plays, no matter against fi.-f.k‘hw:Wwfififiimflhu;¥.fi.-Z .2 '7 C ' .- ‘4 51'» ' -. 7‘ -:' I ‘.-‘"-" - - ._. "_ 1."...""_’. ' ‘ ‘3. '..‘.3_:....'. ‘ i. :. an. mi 4' Wth: .. ascends. a 4'7 whom, the country holds its breath. Politicians, singers and street vendors shut their mouths, lovers suspend their caresses, and flies stop flying. andrade EUROPE HAD never seen a black man play soccer. In the ’24: Olympics, the Uruguayan José Leandro Andrade dazzled everyone with his exquisite plays. A mid- fielder, this rubber—bodied giant would sweep the ball down— field without ever touching an adversary, and when he launched the attack he would brandish his body and send them all scattering. In one match he crossed half the field with the ball sitting on his head. The crowds cheered him, the French press called him “The Black Marvel.” When the tournament was over, Andrade spent some time hanging around Paris, where he was an errant bohemian and king of the cabarets. Patent leather shoes replaced his whiskery hemp sandals from Montevideo and a top hat took the place of his worn cap. Newspaper columns of the time praised the image of that monarch of the Pigalle night: gay jaunty step, over—sized grin, half—closed eyes always staring into the distance. And dressed to kill: silk handkerchief, striped jacket, bright yellow gloves and a cane with a silver handle. 4:8 Andrade died in Montevideo many years later. His friends had planned several benefits for him, but none of them ever came off. He died of tuberculosis, in utter poverty. He was black, South American and poor, the first inter— national soccer idol. ringlets THEY CALLED the successive figure—eights Uruguayan players drew on the field movies, or ringlets. French journalists want— ed the secret of the witchcraft that cast the rival players in stone. Through an interpreter, Jose Leandro Andrade revealed the formula: the players trained by chasing chickens that fled making S’s on the ground. The reporters believed it and published the story. Many years later, good ringlets were still cheered as loud— ly as goals in South American soccer. My childhood memory is filled with them. I close my eyes and I see, for example, Walter Gomez, that dizzying bushwacker who’d dive into the swamp of enemy legs and with ringlet after ringlet leave a wake of fallen bodies. The stands would confess: W’e’d all ratherfast than miss at Walter Gémezpass. He liked to knead the ball, retain it and caress it, and if it got 1% I a 3i - ' away from him, he’d feel insulted. No coach would dare tell him, as they say now: “If you want to knead, go work in a bakery” The ringlet wasn’t just a bit of tolerated mischief, it was a joy the crowd demanded. Today such works of art are out— lawed, or at least viewed with grave suspicion as selfish exhi- bitionism, a betrayal of team spirit, and utterly useless against the iron defensive systems of modern soccer. the Olympic goal WHEN THE Uruguayan team returned from the '24 Olympics, the Argentines challenged them to a friendly game. The match was played in Buenos Aires. Uruguay lost by one goal. Left wing Cesareo Onzari was the creator of the winning goal. He took a corner and the ball went directly into the net without anyone else touching it. It was the first time in the history of soccer a goal Was scored that way. The Uruguayans were left speechless. When they found their tongues, they protested. They claimed the goalkeeper, Mazali, was pushed when the ball was in the air. The referee wouldn’t listen. Then they howled that Onzari hadn’t intended to shoot at the net and that the goal had been scored by the wind. In homage or in irony, that rarity became known in South America as the "Olympic goal.” It’s still called that, on the / 4t9 l [I l rare occasions it occurs. Onzari spent the rest of his life swearing it wasn't by chance. And though years have gone by, the mistrust continues: every time a corner shakes the net without intermediaries, the crowd celebrates the goal with a cheer, but doesn’t quite believe it. goal by piendihene IT WAS 1926. The scorer, Jose Piendibene, didn’t celebrate. Piendibene, a man of rare mastery and rarer modesty, never celebrated his goals, so as not to offend. The Uruguayan club Pefiarol was playing in Montevideo against Espafiol of Barcelona, and they couldn’t find a way to penetrate the goal defended by Zamora. The play came from behind. Anselmo slipped around two adver— saries, sent the ball across to Suffiati and then took off expecting a pass back. But Piendibene asked for it. He caught the pass, eluded Urquizu and closed in on the goal. Zamora saw that Piendibene was shooting for the right corner and. he leapt to block it. The ball hadn’t moved, she was asleep on his foot: Piendibene tossed her softly to the left side of the empty net. Zamora managed to jump back, a cat’s leap, and grazed the ball with his fingertips when it was already too late. £51 the bicycle kick méN UNZAGA invented the move on the field of the Chilean port Talcahuana: body in the air, back to the ground, he shot the ball backwards with a sudden snap of his legs, like the blades of scissors. It was some years later when this acrobatic act came to be called the “chilena,” in 1927 when Colo—Colo travelled to Europe and striker David Arellano performed it in Spanish stadiums. Journalists cheered the splendor of this unknown gambol, and they baptized it "chilena” because, like strawber— ries and the cueca, it had come from Chile. After several flying goals, Arellano died that year, in the stadium at Valladolid, killed in a fatal encounter with a fullback. scarone FORTY YEARS before the Brazilians Pele and Coutinho, the Uruguayans Scarone and Cea rolled over the rival’s defense With zigzag passes that went back and forth from one to the other all the way to the goal, yours and mine, close and right to the foot, question and response, response and question: the ball rebounded without a moment’s pause, as if off a wall. 52 That’s what they called that River Plate style of attack back in those days, “The Wall.” Hector Scarone served up passes like offerings and scored goals with a marksmanship he sharpened during prac— tice sessions by knocking over bottles at thirty meters. And though he was rather short, when it came to jumping he was up long before the rest. Scarone knew how to float in the air, breaking the law of gravity. He would leap for the ball, break free of his adversaries and spin about like a top to face the goal. And then, still in the air, he would head it in. They called him “The Magician” because he pulled goals out of a hat, and they also called him “The Gardel of Soccer,” because while he played he sang like no one else. goal by scarone IT was 1928, during the Olympic final. Uruguay and Argentina were tied when Piriz shot the ball across to Tarasconi and advanced toward the penalty area. Borj as met the ball with his back to the goal and headed it to Scarone, screaming, "Yours, Hector!” and Scarone kicked it sharply on the fly. The Argentine goalkeeper, Bossio, dove for it but it had already hit the net. The ball bounced defiant- ly back onto the field. Uruguayan striker Figueroa sent it in f again, punishing the ball with a swift kick, because leaving the goal like that was bad form. the occult forces A URUGUAYAN player, Adhemar Canavessi, sacrificed himself to avert the damage his presence would have caused in the final match of the ’28 Olympics in Amsterdam. Uruguay was to play Argentina. Every time Canavessi had faced the Argentines, Uruguay had lost, and last time he had had the bad luck to score a goal against his own side. He got off the bus taking the players to the stadium. In Amsterdam, without Canavessi, Uruguay won. The previous day, Carlos Gardel had sung for the Argentine players at the hotel where they were staying. To bring them luck, he’d brought out a new tango called rDandy.” Two years later, just before the final of the 1930 World Cup, it happened again: Gardel sang “Dandy” to wish the team success and Uruguay won the final. Many swear his intentions were beyond reproach, but there are those who believe therein lies the proof that Gardel was Uruguayan. 53 541 goal by nolo rr was 1929. Argentina was playing Paraguay. N010 Ferreira brought the ball up from right at the back. He broke open a path, leaving a string offallen bodies, until he suddenly found himself face to face with the entire defense lined up in a wall. Then N010 stopped. He stood there passing the ball from one foot to the other, from one instep to the other, not letting it touch the ground. His adversaries tilted their heads from left to right and right to left, in unison, hyp— notized, their gaze fixed on that pendulum of a ball. The back— and—forth went on for centuries, until N010 found a hole and shot without warning: the ball pierced the wall and shook the net. The mounted police got off their horses to congratulate him. Twenty thousand people were on the field, but every Argentine will swear he was there. the 1930 world cup AN EARTHQUAKE was shaking the south of Italy and burying 1,500 Neapolitans, Marlene Dietrich was singing “Blue Angel,” Stalin was completing his usurpation of the Russian Revolution, the poet Vladimir Mayakovski was committing :1 i . . a l i g suicide. The English were jailing Mahatma Gandhi, who by demanding independence and loving his country had brought India to a standstill; under the same banner in the other Indies, our Indies, Augusto César Sandino was rousing the peasants of Nicaragua and US. Marines were burning the crops to defeat him by hunger. In the United States some were dancing the new boogie- woogie, but the euphoria of the Roaring Twenties had been knocked out cold by the ferocious blows of the crisis of ’29. When the New York Stock Exchange crashed, it devastated international commodity prices and dragged several Latin American governments into the abyss. The price of tin took a nosedive, pulling Bolivian President Hernando Siles after it and putting a general in his place, while the collapse of meat and wheat prices finished President Hipolito Yrigoyen in ' Argentina and installed another general in his place. In the Dominican Republic, the fall in sugar prices opened the long cycle of dictatorship of General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, who was then inaugurating his regime by baptizing the capi— tal city and the port with his own name. In Uruguay, the coup d’etat was not to strike until three years later. In 1930, the country had eyes and ears only for the first World Cup. Uruguayan victories in the previous two Olympics made the country the obvious choice to host the first tournament. Twelve nations arrived at the port of Montevideo. Every European country was invited, but only four teams crossed the ocean to these southern shores: “That’s far away from everything,” it was said, “and the passage is expensive.” 55 A ship brought the Jules Rimet trophy from France, accompanied by FIFA president Don Jules himself and by the reluctant French team. With pomp and circumstance Uruguay inaugurated the monumental showcase it had taken eight months to build. The stadium was called Centenario, to celebrate the constitu- tion which a century before had denied civil rights to women, the illiterate and the poor. There wasn’t room for a pin in the stands when Uruguay and Argentina faced each other in the final. The stadium was a sea of felt hats and canopies over cameras with tripods. The goalkeepers wore caps and the ref- eree were black plus—fours. The final of the 1930 World Cup did not merit more than a twenty—line column in the Italian daily La Gazzeita dello Sport After all, it was a repeat of the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928: the two nations of the River Plate insulted Europe by showing the world where the best soccer was played. As in ’28, Argentina took second place. Uruguay, losing 2—1 at half—time, ended up winning 4«— 2 and was crowned champion. To referee the final, the Belgian John Langenus demanded life insurance, but nothing more seri— ous occurred than a few tussles in the stands. Afterwards, in Buenos Aires, a crowd stoned the Uruguayan consulate. Third place went to the United States, who had among its players several recent Scottish immigrants, and fourth place went to Yugoslavia. Not a single match ended in a draw. The Argentine Stabile headed up the list of scorers with eight goals, followed by the Uruguayan Cea with five. Louis Laurent of France scored the first goal in World Cup history, against Mexico. 1' t . .3 -! i . 'i’ nasazzi NOT EVEN X—rays could get through him. They called him "The Terrible.” “The field is a jar,” he’d say. “And the mouth of the jar is the penalty area." There, in the box, he was boss. José Nasazzi, captain of the Uruguayan teams of ’24«, ’28 and ’30, was the first caudillo of Uruguayan soccer. He was the windmill of the entire team, which worked to the rhythm of his shouts of warning, disappointment and encourage— ment. No one ever heard him complain. camus IN 1930, Albert Camus was Saint Peter guarding the gate for the University of Algeria's soccer team. He had been playing goalkeeper since he was a child, because in that position your shoes don't wear out as fast. From a poor home, Camus couldn’t afford the luxury of running the fields; every night, his grandmother examined the soles of his shoes and gave him a beating if she found them worn. During his years in the net, Camus learned many things: "I learned that the ball never comes where you expect it to. 57 l? l; l l If 58? Meanwhile, on the other shore of the River Plate, the Argentine Bernabé Ferreyra was also shooting cannonballs That helped me a lot in life, especially in' large cities where people don’t tend to be what they claim.” He also learned to win without feeling like God and to lose without feeling like rubbish, skills not easily acquired, and he learned to unravel several mysteries of the human soul, whose labyrinths he explored later on in a dangerous _ with it. Before and after each game and at half-time as well, they with the fury of the possessed. Fans from every team went to see “The Wild Animal” start out deep, cut his way through the defense and put the ball in the net and the keeper along journey on the page. would play a tango over the loudspeakers composed in homage to Bernabé’s artillery barrages. In 1932, the newspa— \%-I per Critics offered a sizable prize to the goalkeeper who could stop hlm from scoring. One afternoon that year, Bernabé had to take off his shoes for a group of journalists to prove no iron bars were hidden in the toes. juggernauts ONE or the world—champion Uruguayans, “Perucho” Petrone, ' packed up and moved to Italy. The afternoon in 1931 when 'l 7 Petrone made his début for Fiorentina, he scored eleven wan-hem; : ' goals. He didn’t last long in Italy. He was the top scorer in the Italian championship and Fiorentina offered him everything, but Petrone tired quickly of the hurrahs of fascism on the rise. Fed up and nostalgic, he went back to Montevideo where for i a while he continued scoring his scorched—earth goals. He wasn’t yet thirty when he had to leave soccer for good. FIFA forced him out because he broke his contract with Fiorentina. They say Petrone’s shot could knock down a wall. Who knows? One thing’s for sure: it knocked out goalkeepers and professionalism EVEN THOUGH recent scandals—’hlean hands, clean feet”~——have put the bosses of Italy’s biggest clubs on the spot, soccer is still among the country's ten most important industries, and the country remains a magnet for South American players. I Italy was already a Mecca way back in the times of Mussolini. Nowhere else in the world did they pay so well. Players would threaten owners with, “I'm going to Italy,” and broke through nets. those magic words would loosen the purse strings. Some real— 59 60 1y did go, travelling by ship from Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Séio Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and if they didn’t have Italian parents or grandparents somebody in Rome would invent a family on the spot for immediate citizenship. The exodus ofplayers was one factor that led to the birth of professional soccer in our countries. In 193] Argentina turned pro, and Uruguay followed suit the next year. In Brazil a professional league was launched in 1934. That was when they legalized payments previously made under the table, and the player became a worker. The contract tied hiln to the club full time and for life, and he could not change his workplace unless the team sold him. Like a factory worker, the player traded his energy for a wage and became as much a prisoner on the field as a serf was on a manor. But in the early days the demands of professional soccer weren’t great—only two hours a week of obligatory training. In Argentina anyone missing a practice session without a doctor’s note paid a five— peso fine. the 1934 world cup JOHNNY WEISSMULLER was doing his first Tarzan howl, the first mass—produced deodorant was hitting the market, and Louisiana police were shooting down Bonnie and Clyde. ii :i s i. 3‘ Bolivia and Paraguay, the two poorest countries in South America, were lighting in the names of Standard Oil and Shell and bleeding over oil in the Chaco. Sandino, having defeated the marines in Nicaragua, was shot dead in an ambush and Somoza, the murderer, was inaugurating his dynasty. In China, Mac was beginning his Long March. In Germany, Hitler was being crowned Fuhrer of the Third Reich and was promulgating the Law for the Defense of the Aryan Race, which forced sterilization on criminals and on anyone with a hereditary disease. And in Italy, Mussolini was inaugurating the second World Cup. Posters for the championship showed Hercules balancing a ball on his foot while doing the fascist salute. For 11 Duce, the ’34 World Cup in Rome was an elaborate propaganda operation. Mussolini attended all the games, sitting in the box of honor, his chin raised toward stands filled with black shirts. The eleven players of the Italian team dedicated their victories to him, their right arms outstretched. But the road to the title wasn’t easy. The semi—final between Italy and Spain turned out to be the most grueling match in the history of the World Cup. The battle lasted 210 minutes and didn’t end until the following day. Italy Won, but finished without four of their starting players and Spain with— out seven of theirs, sidelined by war—wounds or sheer exhau s— tion. Among the Wounded Spaniards were the two best players: Langara and the keeper Zamora, who hypnotized anyone who set foot in the box. Italy waged the final against Czechoslovakia in the National Fascist Party Stadium and won 2—1. Two Argentines 61 5 recently nationalized as Italians did their part: Orsi scored the first goal, dribbling around the goalkeeper, and the other Argentine, Guaita, made a pass to Schiavio to set up the goal that gave Italy its first World Cup. In ’34- sixteen countries participated: twelve from Europe, three from Latin America, and Egypt, the lone representative of the rest of the world. The reigning champion, Uruguay, refused to go because Italy hadn’t come to the first World Cup in Montevideo. Germany and Austria came in third and fourth. The Czech Nejedly was the leading scorer with five goals, fol— lowed by Cohen from Germany and Schiavio from Italy with four apiece. god and the devil in rio de janeiro ONE VERY rainy night while the year 1987 was dying, an enemy fan buried a toad with its mouth sewn shut in Vasco da Gama’s playing field and called down a curse: “Vasco won’t win a championship for the next twelve years! They won’ t, if there is a God in heaven!” He was a fan of a humble team that Vasco da Gama had beaten 12— 0; Arubinha was his name. For years, fans and players alike searched for that toad on and around the field. They never found it. The playing field was so pockmarked, it looked like a moonscape. Vasco da Gama hired the best players in Brazil, put together sides that were veritable powerhouses, but they kept on losing. At last, in 1945, the team won the Rio trophy and broke the curse. They hadn’t been champions since 1934:. Eleven years of drought. “God gave us a little discount,” the club president commented. Much later, in 1953, it was Flamengo that had problems, the most popular club not only in Rio de Janeiro but in all Brazil, the only club that’s the home team wherever it plays. Their fans, who are the most numerous and fervent in the world, were dying of hunger. Then a Catholic priest, one Father Goes, offered a guarantee of victory as long as the players attended his mass before each game and said the rosary kneeling before the altar. Flamengo won the cup three years in a row. Their rivals protested to Cardinal Jaime Cfimara: Flamengo was using outlawed weapons. Father Goes defended himself claiming all he did was show them the way of the Lord. The players continued saying their rosaries of black and red beads, colors which are not only Flamengo’s but those of an African deity who incarnates Jesus and Satan at the same time. In the fourth year, Flamengo lost the championship. The players stopped going to mass and never said the rosary again. Father Goes asked the Pope for help, but he never answered. Father Romualdo, on the other hand, obtained the Pope’s permission to become a partner in Fluminense. The priest attended every practice session. The players didn’t like it one bit. Twelve years had passed since Fluminense last won the Rio trophy and it was bad luck to have that big black bird standing at the edge of the field. The players shouted insults at him, unaware that Father Romualdo had been deaf since birth. One fine day, Fluminense started to win. They won one championship, then another and another. Now the players would only practice in the shadow of Father Romualdo. After every goal they kissed his cassock. On weekends the priest watched the games from the box of honor and babbled who knows what against the referee and the opposing players. it" the sources of misfortune EVERYONE KNOWS it’s bad luck to step on a toad or on the shad- ow of a tree, to walk under a ladder, to sit or sleep backwards, to open an umbrella indoors, to count your teeth or to break a mirror. But in soccer that barely scratches the surface. Carlos Bilardo, coach of the Argentine team for the World Cup in 1986 and 1990, didn’t let his players eat chicken because it brings bad luck and he made them eat beef, which brings uric acid. Silvio Berlusconi, owner of Milan, forbade fans from singing the club’s anthem, the traditional chant “Milan; Milan," because its malevolent vibrations paralyzed his players’ legs; in 1987 he commissioned a new anthem, “Milan dei nostri cuori.” - ‘ R Freddy Rincén, Colombia’s black giant, disappointed his many admirers in the ’94 World Cup. He played without a drop of enthusiasm. Afterwards we learned that it wasn’t from a lack of desire, but an excess of fear. A prophet from Buenaventura, Rjncén’s home on the Colombian coast, had foretold the results of the championship, which turned out exactly as predicted, and warned that he would break his leg if he was not very care— ful. ‘Watch out for the girl with freckles,” he said, referring to the ball, “and for the one with hepatitis, and the one covered in blood,” alluding to the yellow and red cards of the referee. On the eve of that Cup’s final, Italian specialists in the occult declared their country would win. "Numerous evil spirits from black magic will keep Brazil from winning," the Italian Magicians Association assured the press. The result did not add to the prestige of that professional association. amulets and spells MANY PLAYERS put their right foot first and cross themselves when they step onto the field. There are also some who go directly to the empty goal and kick one in, or kiss the posts. Others touch the grass and bring their fingers to their lips. Often you see a player wearing a little medal around his neck or some magic hand tied around his wrist. If his penalty 65 66 kick goes awry, it's because someone spat on the ball. If he misses an easy shot, it’s because a witch closed the enemy goal. If he loses the match, it’s because he gave away his shirt after the last victory. Amadeo Carrizo, goalkeeper for the Argentine club River Plate, went eight games with his net untouched thanks to the powers of a cap he wore day and night. That cap exorcised the demons of the goal. One afternoon Angel Clemente Rojas, a player for Boca Juniors, stole it. Without his amulet, Carrizo let in two goals and River lost the match. A leading Spanish player, Pablo Hernandez Coronado, says that when Real Madrid refurbished its stadium the team didn’t win a championship for six years, until a fan broke the curse by burying a head of garlic in the center of the playing field. Barcelona’s celebrated forward Luis Suarez didn’t believe in curses, but he knew that every time he knocked over a glass of wine while eating he was going to score a few goals. To invoke the evil spirits of defeat, fans throw salt on the enemy’s playing field. To scare them off, they sow their own field with fistfuls of wheat or rice. Others light candles, offer the earth cane liquor or toss flowers into the sea. Some fans seek protection by praying to Jesus of Nazareth and the blessed souls who died by fire, drowning or losing their way. In several places Saint George’s lances and those of his African twin Ogum have proved very effective against the dragon of the evil eye. Thoughtful gestures are appreciated. Fans favored by the gods crawl on their knees up steep slopes, wrapped in the team flag, or they spend the rest of their days whispering the million rosaries they swore to say. When Botafogo was ‘67 crowned Champion in 195 7, Didi left the field without going to the dressing room and, still in his uniform, he fulfilled the promise he had made to his patron saint: he walked across the city of Rio de Janeiro, from end to end. But deities do not always have time to come to the aid of soccer players tormented by misfortune. The Mexican team arrived at the 1930 World Cup overwhelmed by pessimistic predictions. Just before the match against France, Mexican coach Juan Luqué de Serrallonga gave the players a pep talk at his hotel in Montevideo. He assured them that the Virgin of Guadalupe was praying for them back home on Tepeyac Hill. The coach wasn’t appraised of the Virgin’s busy schedule. France scored four goals and Mexico finished in last place. EI'ICO DURING THE Chaco war, while the peasants of Bolivia and Paraguay were marching to the slaughter, Paraguay's soc— cer players were in other countries playing to raise money for those who fell helplessly wounded in a desert where no birds sang and people left no footprints. That’s how Arsenic Erico got to Buenos Aires, and in Buenos Aires he stayed. Argentina 3 leading scorer of all time was Paraguayan. Erico scored over forty goals a season. 68 He had secret springs hidden in his body. That magician could julnp without bending his knees and his head always reached higher than the goalkeeper's hands. The more relaxed his legs seemed, the more powerfully they would explode to lash out at the goal. Often Erico would whip it in with his heel. There was no deadlier backheel in the history of soccer. When Erico wasn’t scoring goals, he was offering them on a platter to his teammates. Cétulo Castillo dedicated a tango to him: Your pass from the heel or head is such a marvelous flat a thousand years won’t see a repeat. And he did it with the elegance of a dancer. "He’s Nijinski,” commented the French writer Paul Morand when he saw him play. the 1938 world cup MAX THEILER was discovering a vaccine for yellow fever, color photography was being born, Walt Disney was launching “Snow White,” and Eisenstein was filming “Alexander Nevski.” Nylon, invented not long before by a Harvard professor, was being turned into parachutes and ladies’ stockings. The Argentine poets Alfonsina Storni and Leopoldo Lugones were killing themselves. Lazaro Cérdenas was nation— alizing Mexico’s oil and confronting a blockade and other Western furies. Orson Welles was broadcasting a Martian invasion of the United States to frighten the gullible, while Standard Oil was demanding a real invasion of Mexico to pun— ish the heresy of Cérdenas and put an end to his bad example. In Italy, Mang'fizsto on the Race was being written and anti- Semitic attacks were on the rise. Germany was occupying Austria; Hitler was hunting down Jews and devouring territo— ry The English government was ordering its people to stock— pile food and teaching them to defend themselves against poison gas. Franco was cornering the last bastions of the Spanish Republic and receiving the recognition of the Vatican. Cesar Vallejo was dying in Paris, probably in the pouring rain, while Sartre was publishing Named. And there, in Paris, under the darkening shadows of the war to come, where Picasso's “Guernica” was on display to denounce the time of infamy, the third World Cup got underway. In Colombes stadium, French president Albert Lebrun made the ceremonial kick-off: he aimed at the ball, but cuffed the ground. As with the previous Cup, this was a European champi— onship. Only two South American countries joined eleven European ones. A team from Indonesia, still called the Dutch East Indies, came to Paris as the sole representative of the rest of the planet. Germany’s side incorporated five players from recently annexed Austria. Thus reinforced, with swastikas on their Chests and all the Nazi symbols of power to hand, the German 69 squad came on strong, claiming invincibility, only to trip and fall to modest Switzerland. The German defeat occurred a few .-7 days before Aryan supremacy suffered another rude blow in New York, when black boxer Joe Louis pulverized German champion Max Schmelin g. Italy, on the other hand, pulled off a repeat of the previous World Cup. In the semi-final, the Azzurri defeated Brazil. One penalty was questionable, but Brazil protested in vain. As in ’34-, all the referees were European. Then came the final: Italy against Hungary. For Mussolini, winning was a matter of state. On the eve of the game, the Italian players received a three—word telegram from Rome, signed by the fascist chief: “Win or die.” They didn’t have to die because Italy won 4—2. The following day the victors wore military uniforms to the final ceremony, presided over by 11 Duce. La Gamma dello Sport exalted "the apotheosis of fascist sports symbolized by this victory of the race.” Not long before, the official press had celebrated Italy’s defeat of Brazil with these words: “We salute the triumph of Italic intelli— gence over the brute force of the Negroes.” But it was the international press who chose the‘best players of the tournament, and among them were two black men, Brazilians Leonidas and Domingos da Guia. With eight goals Leonidas was also the leading scorer, followed by the Hungarian Zsengeller with seven. The most beautiful goal scored by Leonidas was against Poland. Playing in a torren— tial storm, he lost his shoe in the mud of the penalty area and scored the goal barefoot. a, goal by meazza [T was at the World Cup in ’38. In the semi—final, Italy and Brazil were risking their necks for all or nothing. I Italian striker Piola suddenly collapsed as if he’d been shot, and with the last flutter of life in his finger he pointed at Brazilian defender Domingos da Guia. The referee believed him and blew the whistle: penalty. While the Brazilians screamed to high heaven and Piola got up and dusted himself 5- off, Giusepe Meazza placed the ball on the firing point. Meazza was the dandy of the picture. A short, handsome, Latin lover and an elegant artilleryman ofpenalties, he lifted -' his chin to the goalkeeper like a matador before the final _ charge. His feet, as soft and knowing as hands, never missed. ' But Walter, the Brazilian goalie, was good at blocking penal— '_ ty kicks and felt confident. Meazza began his run up, and just when he was about to execute the kick, he dropped his shorts. The crowd was stu— ' pefied and the referee nearly swallowed his whistle. But I Meazza, never pausing, grabbed his pants with one hand and sent the goalkeeper, disarmed by laughter, down to defeat. That was the goal that put Italy in the final. 71 l l: 72 lefinidas HE HAD the dimensions, speed and cunning of a mosquito. In the ’38 World Cup a journalist from Paris Match counted six legs on him and suggested black magic was responsible. I don’t know if the journalist noticed, but Leonidas’s many legs had the diabolical ability to grow several yards and fold over or tie themselves in knots. Leonidas da Silva stepped onto the field the day Artur Friedenreich, already in his forties, retired. He received the scepter from the old master. It wasn't long before they named a brand of cigarettes and a candy bar after him. He got more fan letters than a movie star: the letters asked him for a pic— ture, an autograph or a government job. Leonidas scored many goals, but never counted them. A few were made from the air, his feet twirling, upside down, back to the goal. He was skilled in the acrobatics of the “chile— na,” which Brazilians call the bicycle. Leonidas’s goals were so pretty that even the goalkeeper would get up and congratulate him. da Guia. R73 do min gas To THE EAST, the Great Wall of China. To the west, Domingos In the entire history of soccer no fullback was more solid. Domingos was champion in four cities—Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Montevideo and Buenos Aires—and he was adored by all four: when he played, the stadiums were always full. Fullbacks used to stick like stamps to strikers and peel off the ball as quickly as possible, wafting it to high heaven before it burned their feet. Domingos, however, let his adversaries stampede by vainly while he stole the ball; then he would take all the time in the world to bring it out of the box. A man of imperturbable style, he was always whistling and looking the other way. He scorned speed. He would play in slow motion, master of suspense, lover of leisure: the art of bringing the ball out of the box slowly, calmly, was baptized 'domingada. I When he finally let the ball go, he did so without ever run- ning and without wanting to, because it saddened him to be left without her. 74< flamingos and she THIS BALL here helped me a lot. She or her sisters, right? It’s ufiim— ily to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. In my time on earth, she was the hey. Because without her nobody/plays at all. I started out in the Baugztfletory. %rhiug, working, until I met myfi‘ieud here. And I was very happy with her. I ’oe seen the world, traveled a. lot, had many women. [Women are a pleasure too, right? (Testimony collected by Roberto Moura) goal by atilio 1T WAS 1939. Nacional from Montevideo and Boca Juniors from Buenos Aires were tied at two goals apiece, and time was running out. Nacional was on the attack; Boca, in retreat, was holding them off. Then Atilio Garcia got the ball, faced the jungle of legs, and opened up a path on the right, gobbling up the field, adversary by adversary. Atilio was used to getting kicked. They’d go after him with everything they had, his legs were a map of scars. That afternoon on the way to the goal, he was tackled hard by Angeletti and Suarez, and had the pleasure of eluding them ' 9;. i .- g T? both twice. Valussi tore his shirt, grabbed him by the arm and kicked, and hefty Ibafiez blocked his path when he was running full tilt. But Atilio was unstoppable. The ball was part of his body and his body was a tornado, knocking over players as if they were rag dolls, until at last Atilio let the ball go with a terrifying smash that nearly burst the net. , The air smelled of gunpowder. Boca players surrounded the referee, demanding he disallow the goal because of the fouls they had committed. Since he paid them no heed, the players left the field, indignant. .. the perfect kiss would like to be unique gums A FEW Argentines swear, hand over heart, that Enrique Garcia was the one. Garcia, El Chueco, played left wing for Racing. Just as many Uruguayans swear, fingers crossed on their lips, that-it was Pedro Lago, El Mulero, striker for Pefiarol. It was one or the other, or perhaps both. Half a century ago, or a little more, Lago or Garcia scored a perfect goal, one that left his adversaries paralyzed with rage or admiration. Then he plucked the ball from the back of the net and with it under his arm he retraced his path, step by step, dragging his feet. That’s right, raising lots of dust, to erase his footprints so that no one could copy the play. the machine : IN THE EARLY forties, the Argentine club River Plate had one of the best teams of all time. “Some go in, others come out, everyone rises, everyone falls,” explained Carlos Peucelle, one of the parents of this brood. The players traded places in a permanent rotation, defenders attacked, attackers defended. “On the blackboard and on the field,” Peucelle liked to say, “our tactical plan is not the traditional 1—2—3—5. It’s 1—10.” Even though everyone did everything on that River team, the front line was the best. Munoz, Moreno, Pedernera, Labruna and Loustau played only eighteen games together, but they made history and they still make for conversation. These five played by ear, whistling to each other to make their way upfield and to call the ball, which followed them like a happy dog and never got lost. People called that legendary team “The Machine” because of its precision plays. Dubious praise: these strikers had so much fun playing they’d forget to shoot at the goal. They had nothing in common with the mechanical coldness of a machine. Fans were fairer when they called them the "Knights of Anguish” because those bastards made their devotees sweat bullets before allowing them the relief of a goal. ‘7 moreno THEY CALLED him “El Charro” because he looked like a Mexican movie star, but he was from the countryside upriver from Buenos Aires. Jose Manuel Moreno, the most popular player on River’s “Machine,” loved to throw fakes: his pirate legs would strike out one way but go another, his bandit head would promise a shot at one goalpost and drive it at the other. Whenever an opponent flattened him with a kick, Moreno would get up by himself and without complaint, and no matter how badly he was hurt, he would keep on playing. He was proud, 3 swaggerer and a scrapper who could punch out the entire enemy stands and his own as well, since though his fans adored him they had a nasty habit of insulting him every time River lost. Lover of good music and good friends, man of the Buenos Aires night, Moreno used to meet the dawn tangled in some— -' one’s tresses or propped up on his elbows on the counter of some cafe. “The tango,” he’d say, “is the best way to train: you main— tain a rhythm, then change it when you stride forward, you learn the profiles, you work on your waist and your legs.” On Sundays at midday, before each match, he would devour a big bowl of chicken stew and drain several bottles of red wine. Those in charge at River ordered him to give up his rowdy Ways, unbecoming of a professional athlete. He did his best. For an entire week he slept at night and drank nothing but milk. Then he played the worst game of his life. When he went 77 I. 78 79 pedernera back to carousing, the club suspended him. His teammates went on strike in solidarity with this incorrigible Bohemian, _ «THE PENALTY kick I blocked is going down in the history of Leticia," a young Argentine wrote in a letter from Colombia. His name was Ernesto Guevara and he was not yet “Che.” In {1952 he was humming around Latin America. On the banks 9f the Amazon, in Leticia, he coached a soccer team. Guevara called his travelling buddy “Pedernerita.” He had no better ,way of praising him. and River had to play nine matches with replacements. Let’s hear it for partying: Moreno had one of the longest careers in the history of soccer. He played for twenty years in I the first division with clubs in Argentina, Mexico, Chile, 73 Uruguay and Colombia. In 1946, when he returned from f Mexico, River’s fans were so anxious to see his daring thrusts and feints that they overflowed the stadium. More devotees . knocked down the fences and invaded the playing field. He scored three goals and they carried him off on their shoul- Adolfo Pedernera had been the fulcrum of River’s '5 .“Machine”. This one—man orchestra played every position, from one end of the front line to the other. From the back he I would create plays, thread the ball through the eye of a I needle, change the pace, launch surprise breakaways; in front : "he would blow goalkeepers away. The urge to play tickled him all over. He never wanted 5 matches to end. When night fell, stadium employees would try in vain to get him to stop practicing. They wanted to pull him away from soccer but they couldn’t, because the game refused to him let go. ders. In 1952, Nacional in Montevideo made him a juicy offer, but he chose instead to play for another Uruguayan side, Defensor, a small club that could pay him little or nothing, _ because he had friends there. That year, Moreno stopped Defensor’s decline. In 1961, after retiring, he became coach of Medellin in Colombia. Medellin was losing a match against Boca Juniors from Argentina, and the players couldn’t make any headway toward the goal. So Moreno, who was then forty—five, got out 7 of his street clothes, took the field and scored two goals. Medellin won. ' 80 goal by severino IT WAS 1943. Boca Juniors was playing River Plate in Ar gen t'ma’s soccer classic. Boca was down by a goal when the referee whistled a foul at the edge of the River area. Sosa took the free kick, Rather than shoot on goal, he served up a center pass 10019 ing for Severino Varela’s head. The ball came down way ahead of Varela. River’s rearguard had an easy play, Severino was nowhere near it. But the veteran striker took off and flew through the air, clawing past several defenders until he connected with a devastating beret—blow that vanquished the goalkeeper. His fans called him the "phantom beret” because he would fly uninvited into the goalmouth. Severino had quite a few years’ experience and plenty of recognition with the Uruguayan club Pefiarol by the time he went to Buenos Aires, wearing the undefeated look of a mischievous child and a white beret stuck on his skull. With Boca he sparkled. Still, every Sunday at nightfall after the game, Severino would take the boat back to Montevideo, to his barrio, his friends, and his job at the factory 1 bombs ,WHILE WAR tormented the world, Rio de Janeiro’s dailies announced a London—style bombing on the playing field of the club Bangu. In the middle of 1943, a match was to be played against 850 Cristovao, and Bangu’s fans planned to Send four thousand fireworks aloft, the largest bombardment 'm the history of soccer. When the Bangui players took the field and the gunpow— rder thunder and lightning began, Sao Cristovao’s coach locked his players in the dressing room and stuck cotton in their ears. As long as the fireworks lasted, and they lasted a long time, the dressing room floor shock, the walls shock and the players shook too, all of them huddled with their heads in their hands, teeth clenched, eyes screwed shut, convinced that the World War had come home. They were still shaking when they stepped onto the field. Those who weren’t epilep~ tic must have had malaria. The sky was black with smoke. Bangl’i creamed them. A short while later, there was to be a game between the Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo teams. Once again, war clouds threatened and the dailies predicted another Pearl Harbor, a siege of Leningrad and other cataclysms. The Paulistas knew that the loudest bang ever heard awaited them in Rio. Then the SEO Paulo coach had a brainwave: instead of hiding in the dressing room, his players would take the field at the same time as the Cariocas. That way instead of scaring them, the bombardment would be a greeting. And that’s what happened, only 8510 Paulo lost anyway, 6— 1. 82"J1 {‘83 the man who turned iron into wind sane asylum. These locos were unbeatable on the fields of the Argentine littoral, and playing was their best therapy. EDUARDO CHILLIDA tended goal for Real Sociedad in the Basque «Team strategy is my priority," said the psychiatrist, who I city ofSan Sebastian. Tall and skinny, he had a style of block_ 3 ing shots that was his very own, and both Barcelona and Real "_ ; Madrid had their eyes on him. The experts were predicting " 'was also the team’s coach and top scorer. Half a century later, we urban beings are all more or less 2 Crazy, even though due to space limitations nearly all of us the boy WOUId succeed zamm‘a‘ live outside the asylum. Evicted by cars, trapped by violence, But destiny had other plans. In 1943, a rival striker appropriately named Safiudo, which means enraged, smashe condemned to isolation, we live packed in ever closer to one another and feel ever more alone, with ever fewer meeting Chillida's meniscus and everything else. After five operations on his knee, Chillida bid goodbye to soccer and saw no alter if. 3 native but to become a sculptor. places and ever less time to meet In soccer, as in everything else, consumers are far more numerous than producers. Asphalt covers the empty lots ‘ I Thus was born one of the greatest artists of the century Chillida works with materials so heavy they sink into the earth where people used to pick up a game, and work devours our leisure time. Most people don't play, they just watch others but his powerful hands toss iron and reinforced concrete into 1 the air where they discover other spaces and create new dimen i ; sions on the fly. He used to do the same thing with his body. kick the ball every so often out of sheer joy. And not only chil— :: dren. For better or for worse, though the fields are as far away as could be, friends from the neighborhood or Workmates from the factory, the office or the faculty still get together to _- play for fun until they collapse exhausted, and then winners and losers go off together to drink and smoke and share a good .meal, pleasures denied the professional athlete. I Sometimes women take part, too, and score their own - goals, though in general the macho tradition keeps them exiled from these fiestas of communication. contact therapy I maroon PICHON—REVIEBE spent his entire life piercing the myster— ies of human sadness and helping to crack our cages of silence. In soccer he found an effective ally. Back in the forties, Pichon—Riviere organized a team among his patients at the ...
View Full Document

Page1 / 24

18. Galeano Soccer Extracts - SOCCER IN SUN AND SHADOW $5?...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 24. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online