By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
DEAR READERS: Ever since the Mexican national soccer team thrashed the American team, 4-2, in last month's Gold Cup final, Know Nothings have railed about how Mexis in the U.S. root for El Tri against the norteamericanos. They've invaded the Mexican's mailbox with preguntas sobre fútbol, so rather than answer them, I'll just reprint my two favorite soccer questions from the past—no need to reinvent the quesadilla, you know?
DEAR MEXICAN: Why do Mexican soccer fans chant, "Osama! Osama!" when their side plays the United States? You don't hear American soccer fans yell, "¡La migra!"
White Boy Dash
DEAR GABACHO: You think hurling bin Laden's name is tasteless? How about the Daily Mail columnist who, on the day England faced West Germany in the 1966 FIFA World Cup final, wrote, "If the Germans beat us at our national game today, we can always console ourselves [with the fact] that we have beaten them twice at theirs"? Or the hooligans who greeted Jewish fans during a Lazio-AS Roma Italian league match with a banner that read, "Auschwitz is your town, the ovens are your houses"? This is soccer we're talking about, not Wimbledon. Offensive jeers are part of the game, and anyone who can't take the heat should leave la cocina. Jingoism is the main reason fútbol is the world's most popular sport and a global Two Minutes Hate: Countries and regions can spill their aggression toward one another out on the pitch and in the stands instead of on the battlefield. That's why Mexicans love to trash the United States when the two countries play. Ustedes exploit us, humiliate us, dominate us in every socioeconomic category, even beat us in soccer—the United States has finally become Mexico's worthy adversary instead of perpetual whipping boy. So instead of wielding knives, our best revenge is the clever insult, the well-timed chinga tu madre whistle, and the beer poured upon Landon Donovan as he triumphantly exits the stadium. All the great soccer-playing nations draw rabidly nationalistic fans, and the United States will remain a third-rate country until Americans cry, "Tacos!" next time Mexico's squad invades el Norte.
Dear Mexican: Why do Mexicans HATE American soccer and "hate" (bolded, underlined and italicized) Landon Donovan?
Uncle Sam's Army Brat
DEAR GABACHO: Because Mexicans hate Americans—DUH! Geez, this is the literary equivalent of taking a penalty kick with no goaltender—but I also want to plug Gringos At the Gate, an upcoming documentary answering this very question with game footage and interviews with Mexican and American fútbol fanatics, former soccer stars, and your humble scribe. I gave your question un cabezazo over to director Pablo Miralles, who delivered a bicycle kick of an answer (okay, okay: a yellow card for me for too many bad soccer metaphors). "On the first part: The average American doesn't give a shit about fútbol, so how can they be as good or even better than us Mexicans, who are the most passionate and loyal fans?" Miralles asked the Mexican. "As for Donovan, Mexicans will say that the hatred comes from when, in 2004, he pissed on the field of the sacred Estadio Jalisco, home of the revered Chivas de Guadalajara. But the truth, I believe, is that when he won the Golden Boot at the 1999 Under-17 World Cup (being the first player from this part of the world to win such an honor) and later the Best Young Player at the 2002 World Cup, the realization for Mexican fans set in that, for the first time, the best player on the field when the United States played Mexico was NOT a Mexican. It's one thing to be beat by a bunch of overeducated, hard-working, physical brutos, but the talent, the technical skill, the style—these are the attributes of El Tri. 'So how can it be this güero is winning these awards?' think Mexican fans. Unacceptable!" Pablo, your answer was a GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!
GOOD MEXICAN OF THE WEEK: El Tri—DUH! ¡Viva México, cabrones!
This column appeared in print as "Special Soccer Edición."