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Keep Calm & Respetense Uno al Otro

If you’re a fútbol fan, chances are you know a big game is on tonight. El Salvador vs. Mexico. (The U.S. vs. Guatemala also!)

If you’re Salvadoran or Mexican, you know that games between the two tend to stir up some animosity. Even though a lot of people tell me I’m naive to think I can make a difference, each time Mexico and El Salvador play each other, I tend to make a public appeal that the teams, as well as the fans, respect each other and the game. Carlos has told me before that I’m wasting my time and that the two will always be bitter rivals. There’s no problem with a little rivalry, but I still think we can be respectful rivals.

If I keep even one Salvadoran from throwing things at Chicharito, or encourage even one fan of El Tri to rethink and ultimately decide not to make an ignorant comment about Salvadorans, then I’ll be happy.

Here are two graphics I made which I encourage you to share around social media. Help me spread the word. Keep Calm and Respect Each Other. Mantengan la Calma y Respetense Uno al Otro.

Click for larger version.

Click for larger version.

While I was creating these graphics, I stumbled upon a photo of President Obama holding a blue T-shirt. I couldn’t help but do a little photoshopping.

Looks like Pres. Obama is a reluctant fan of La Selecta. I think his facial expression reflects what a lot of us are feeling about tonight’s game. We’ll put on the azul, but maybe we’re not feeling all that hopeful.

Either way, buena suerte to both teams. Win or lose, I hope they give us a good game.

Please refrain from throwing tortas at Chicharito

I didn’t think I’d be making a public service announcement today regarding the El Salvador vs. Mexico game, but a conversation with a friend this morning made me realize there are some issues that should be discussed, and if this helps change the behavior of even one person, pues, vale la pena.

Okay, guanacos, you know I love you all con todo mi corazón, right? You know I’m cheering for La Selecta in tonight’s game against Mexico, even though I also cheer for El Tri when they don’t play El Salvador. I’m aware that you guys have issues with each other and that Mexico can be equally disrespectful when El Salvador plays on their turf, (yes, I remember las abejas en la porteria), but where does it end, hermanos?

If Salvadorans are disrespectful to the Mexican team and Mexicans are disrespectful to the Salvadoran team, the cycle will continue to repeat itself. Look, I know it’s difficult. I have two sisters and when we’d get into a slap fight, we would keep slapping each other back and forth – always wanting to be the one to get the last slap in. Usually at some point I would slap my sister and run off until she forgot to slap me back later… (“Haha! Got you last!”) – But this situation is a little different. Someone has to have the maturity and self-discipline to let the other have the last slap.

Didn’t your abuela tell you, “Ojo por ojo y el mundo quedará ciego”? … Wait.. maybe that was Gandhi that said that. Gandhi would have made a good abuela. Anyway… Okay, your Nana probably told you, “Eh! Vos! Pórtate bien, cipote!… Qué bicho más malcriado, hijueputa…” – That’s not as inspirational, but good enough.

Last night Salvadorans stayed up all night making noise outside the Hotel Real Intercontinental in San Salvador where El Tri is staying. The intention was to disrupt the Mexican team’s sleep – but can I tell you something? I stayed at that hotel last summer and I can almost guarantee that the Mexican team didn’t hear a peep. The windows are really thick and I couldn’t hear anything down on the street below when we were there. Besides, even if it was loud enough to be heard, the Mexican team is already hip to this trick. Don’t you think that by now they’ve invested in some nice noise cancelling headphones? El Tri probably slept very comfortably, meanwhile, the Salvadorans down on the street missed a whole night’s sleep. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

If these kinds of “pep rallies” were all that went on, then I would say está bien, it’s harmless, but things can get a lot more disrespectful and even violent. Apparently someone threw a torta at Chicharito. It sounds funny but come on, let’s talk about this seriously for a moment. Gente decente no se hace eso. First of all, Chicharito is a person with feelings. This was just incredibly rude. Second, this stupid act by one person reflects badly on all Salvadorans. Third, this happened when El Tri got off the bus in front of the Real Intercontinental. I have walked down that street, (Boulevard de Los Heroes) and I can promise you that there were at least three hungry people begging within a half block of that torta hitting the pavement. As my suegra would say, “Qué pecado” … Shame on you for wasting food like that.

This is a beautiful game. Use your passion to support your team in a positive way – not on negativity. Whose with me?

Chicharito image source: Ed Schipul

Arriba con la Selección Salvadoreña!

On Friday, while watching the game (El Salvador vs. Costa Rica), the Salvadoran soccer team’s anthem came on during a commercial break. Our 10 year old son jumped up and started dancing; we all started laughing because this cipote has moves and I have no idea where he gets them from. He can dance to almost any kind of music, and he dances really well. (My Suegra used to say that he gets it from her side of the family but I’ve seen Suegra and her family dance – they aren’t any better than my family!)

Anyway, with the México vs. El Salvador game coming up on Tuesday June 12th, (9 pm ET on Telemundo), I asked my son if he’d be willing to give a repeat performance in front of the camera. He didn’t want to at first but a piece of chocolate, 50 cents, and my explanation that he would help pep everyone up for the game, convinced him.

Arriba con la Selección!

Pitbull (not that one)

Tomorrow we go to the Copa de Oro (Gold Cup) quarterfinal games in D.C. – That’s right, plural – games! … I totally didn’t even realize that it was a doubleheader, which means two games one after the other at the same venue which are attended with the same ticket. So not only will I get to see the U.S. team play against Jamaica, I get to see the game right after it. Do you know whose playing?

EL SALVADOR vs. Panama! … I’m freaking out. The only way this could be more chévere is if Chicharito showed up and bought me a beer, but let’s keep things realistic, shall we?

Our tickets are supposed to be at “will call” which makes me nervous, but I’m told this is a reliable way to do things and I don’t have a choice in the matter, so primero a Dios and fingers crossed. The reason it makes me nervous is because these games are todo sold-out. I have a feeling it’s going to be crazy getting in. A friend who will be at the game advised us to arrive hours early, partly to avoid a really long line and also to enjoy the pre-game atmosphere. You’re going to have a parqueo full of guanacos, panameños, Jamaicans, gringos and a mix of others … I don’t know how hard everyone else parties, but the Salvadorans alone will make plenty of noise and fun – not to mention that they’re clever business people and I’m sure a lot of ventas will be going on. If Suegra were coming, (which she’s not!) I know she’d be out there hustling, selling pupusas, hand-embroidered delantales, joya, and whatever else she could carry.

Like I said, Suegra is staying home to watch the cipotes so it seems we’re ready for the games – except what to wear?

Carlos and I have been looking everywhere for a shirt to wear to the game. You would think we owned a La Selecta shirt but every time we asked Suegra to bring us one, she’d come back with tourist T-shirts. One time she got closer and brought us a team shirt for Chalatenango, but purple stripes are not as cool as “La Azul” – (not to mention, the shirt is too small – the chorizo look is not a good one.)

So we went to various sporting goods stores. One store we went to I asked where their soccer shirts are and the guy said, “Um, we don’t have… soccer…shirts… We have soccer balls?” … The other store had a U.S. MLS shirt, but it was $50… So not happening.

We tried department stores, where I found a really cool shirt for El Tri, which, (while I still want it), would have been an inappropriate choice for the game. (I may wear my “Mexico Numero Uno” shirt here at home and deal with the wrath of Carlos and Suegra, but I’m not tonta enough to wear it in a stadium full of Salvadorans.)

Wally World was also no good. They have a lot of patriotic shirts due to the season, but not anything I would be caught dead wearing. (Glittery kittens with fireworks? Seriously? People like this?)

Finally I had the idea to make a shirt. I bought a nice bright blue T-shirt for $3 and some iron-on letters… but what to write?

That’s when I remembered my new favorite player – Salvadoran, Dennis Alas.

While I was watching El Salvador play Cuba on television, I noticed that the commentator kept referring to one of the players as “Pitbull.” I thought this was just a silly, quirky thing that this particular commentator had come up with, but after searching the internet a little, I found out that Dennis Alas is known as the “Salvadoran Pitbull” – (I’m thinking it’s the shaved head.)

"Salvadoran Pitbull" - Image source: Guillermo Estrada/elsalvadorfc.com

After reading more about the player and looking up video of some of his past goals – I’ve really come to like him.

He actually didn’t score any goals against Cuba. Here’s him missing one though. Oops.

No me importa. His nickname is too chivo for me not to like him and I think he has potential.

So anyhow, Dennis “Pitbull” Alas inspired me to create a camisa for the game. I think I will be the only person in the stadium, (or in the world), with this one-of-a-kind shirt. If you watch the games mañana, look for me.

Disclosure: I will be attending the CONCACAF Copa de Oro/Gold Cup games at the invitation of State Farm. All opinions are my own.

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