Futbol y novelas

Posted by: | March 18, 2009 | Comments Off on Futbol y novelas

I was waiting for weeks to get to this reading about futbol and culture and it did not let me down, it was really enjoyable and fascinating along the whole step of the way.

Futbol, like many other sports, is not just something that you simply see, but you also live it and feel it. As Bellos puts it, there is always a before and an after. Latin America, in general, is renowned for having various champions in distinct disciplines such as futbol, baseball and boxing, however without a doubt futbol is the one that “mueve masas”. The nation, for many, is an imaginary community in which people who have never met before feel they have a common bond, and I believe that (in the case of futbol) the national team serve as a way in which to cement that bond among the people in this “imaginary community”. El Maracanazo is a perfect example of that; it united Brazilians before the game with a general feeling of confidence and one of sadness at the end. Ultimately, most Brazilians were going through the same phase together before and after the Maracanzo.

I personally have a connection with that, like the Brazilians I had my own Hiroshima that had to do with futbol. To spare the details, all that has to be known is that I (and the majority of us) were confident that we would emerge victorious, however futbol is “la mecanica de lo imprevisto” and we lost to them. Until this day I still have not watched any replays of that match, not even to make sure if that was penalty or if that should of been a red card or not, I just do not want to go back and relive that moment. And of course I wasn’t the only one affected, it’s one of those moments when the whole nation seems to freeze and even though we are carrying our daily duties as usual, it is not as it was before. I remember the next day I had to go to work and one of my co-workers was also avid fan of the national team, and on that day we never spoke about The Game. I knew that we wanted to say something about The Game, but we just didn’t know what to say. A week later we finally discussed The Game and its consequences; that conversation lasted for almost 3 hours.

Ultimately el Maracanazo and my Hiroshima reaffirmed something to me; futbol is not a game of 20 men (or women) who run for a ball and 2 men (or women) who stand beneath 3 goal posts. No. Futbol is a game of 20 men (or women) who run for a ball, 2 men (or women) who stand beneath 3 goal posts and all the souls who wait for the result.

Telenovelas have been something that has characterized Latin American culture for a while and is probably the one of best indicator of true popular culture in Latin America because I’m sure everyone is familiar one way or another. When I was young and my parents weren’t home, nana would always put her novela while waiting for me to sleep so I’ve been (unfortunately) familiarized with them. I don’t particularly see what the deal about them is since they always have practically the same plot and structure, yet they are still as popular as futbol is to Brazilians or Argentineans. One of the things I noticed was that most of the people who sit and watch these novelas are from the lower and lower-middle class, particularly maids. I remember in my childhood how nana would talk with the other maids of the building about the episode from last night. One thing that I’ve always found funny was when they complained how much the ending sucked, I just find it funny simply because it ends the same way the other novelas have ended.

ps: There’s this satiric show in Panama that did a “Top 10” on novelas a while back. It outlined the ten characteristics of a novela, basically if you do not most of these in your novela, then you’ve failed as a director. Part 1,Part 2 and Part 3.


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