The Virgin María’s only competition for popularity is football (or soccer as it is called in North America). You think Canadians go nuts over hockey during the playoffs? We have nothing on the world’s obsession with football.
On game day I don’t have to turn on the TV. Even with the windows closed the honking and cheering tells the story.
Here, the big rivalry pits Madrid against Barcelona. The capital against the nationalists. The choice is seeped in symbolism and politics. Declaring your position is mandatory.
When I met Rogelio’s extended family at my wedding they immediately put me on the hot seat: “Madrid or Barcelona?” Without any information, but realizing I had to make a declaration, I impulsively said “Barcelona”. Half the room cheered. Half the room booed me. At my own wedding.
When I started as a language assistant at the highschool, without fail, in every class, some boy put up his hand and asked: ” Madrid or Barcelona”. I stuck to my choice. “Barcelona.” Always half the class cheered and half the class booed. But, we all knew where we stood.
Jumping on the Barcelona bandwagon was a good choice. This year they have won the Spanish League, European League and the World League. A bunch of my favorite Barcelona players will be representing Spain at the World Cup in South Africa in July. I must admit, I will be watching. Football is a beautiful spectator sport, although the singing, cheering and chaos in the stands is sometimes more entertaining than the game itself. Here, it is impossible not to get caught up in the fever. So I’ll keep cheering for the Barça boys. Especially the little dude on the right.