Sunday, August 12, 2012

on the ball

Mexico is a nation steeped in individualism. 

Or so writes Jorge Castañeda in his book examining the puzzling paradoxes of politics and culture of modern Mexico -- Mañana Forever?: Mexico and the Mexicans

As proof he offers the 2008 Olypmic Games.  Mexico won two golds in taekwondo and a bronze in diving. 

But when it came to team sports, Mexico was skunked.  The country did well in individual sports, but could not get its act together in team sports.  Including the football World Cup.

Well, Jorge may be rewriting that chapter as a result of Mexico's outstanding performance in football at the Olympics on Saturday.

Before Saturday, the medal count looked like a replay of the 2008 Olympics.  Two silvers and a bronze in diving.  A bronze in taekwondo.  And a silver and bronze in archery.

Then Mexico and Brazil met in the football finals -- where Mexico astounded everyone.  Not only by making it to the finals.  But by defeating the powerhouse Brazil team.
What was astounding is that Mexico actually played as a team.  Rather than as a bunch of backup chorus boys for an outstanding star or two.

That was evident from the start -- with a goal only 28 seconds into the game.  Amazingly, Mexico also played an effective defense game.  Something no one expects from the Mexican team.

I watched the game in the Alaska Airlines board room in Los Angeles.  With the exception of an outburst from the bartender, we could have been watching cricket at the Eton Alumnae reunion.

My neighbor Michael tells me it was a different story in Melaque.  He could hear people reacting to the game throughout the entire neighborhood.

Given the choice, I would have preferred to watch it here.  But I did not arrive until the late afternoon.

I must confess I never quite understood Castañeda's point about Mexican individualism.  I still don't.  He is obviously using the term far differently than those of us from liberal democracies use it. 

And that is not surprising.  The Mexican Constitution would never be confused with a Lockean treatise.  All of those comments about Mexican rights coming from the state rather than being inalienable rights have rather sinister roots in other twentieth century philosophies.

But, whether or not he is correct about Mexican individualism, he is incorrect that Mexicans cannot excel in team sports.

Or this may just be a fluke.  Even if it is, it a fluke worth celebrating.

If I had an eagle-on-the-cactus banner, it would be fluttering over my gate today.


min said...

Glad you got back safely.

They said same thing about Korean. may be too hurried life,Time was hard back then in Korea.

If Mexican can create true G O V. without few elite who runs and favor by money graving power?

G O V. by the people, for the peoples.

Manana" is kind hard concept for me. I like to plan ahead and look forward.
But there is drew Mexico has ,always close to my heart.

Another well written tale from you. I have read twice before fully understand what you are trying to say.

I am just glad that Mexico won.
Korean lost to Brazil by 3 to 0.

Francisco said...

Castanada who?  What about the Alamo? Victory over the Brazilians is huge.  I'm proud my last name is Trevino

John Calypso said...

The last two minutes of that game were 'edge-of-chair' exciting.- seen in real time ;-)  

Very proud of that team. 

Shannon Casey said...

Welcome home. It was cuete central all day here yesterday. viva México!

Steve Cotton said...

 It was a well-played game.

Steve Cotton said...

 By the time I was at the house, there was no celebration evident.  That surprised me.

Steve Cotton said...

 It was a great game -- unlike most football finals.

Steve Cotton said...

A great day to be a team player in Mexico.

min said...

 Talking about Mexican individualism?

when I was in el careyes found ,what Mexico has more close to Indians caste system.
Similar to Asian country has long ago.And still does in someway.

Yes,It was good game.Glad Mexican won.

Steve Cotton said...

Mexico's social system is very similar to the rest of Latin America.