Sunday, June 11, 2006

Mexico, Mexico, Ra, Ra, Ra!

Mexico, Mexico, Ra, Ra, Ra!

As I admitted to before, I am an avid watcher of futbol when the World Cup rolls around. It is almost an adiction and I am drawn to watch as many games as possible. You never know which game is going to be a good one.

For example, I was only marginally interested in the Sweden-Trinidad and Tobago (you can't forget the Tobago, as Sara has pointed out to me) game. I did spend time in Sweden and I had a crazy calypso friend once, but the game was not one that was on my radar screen. Sweden is a good technical team, but in general kind of boring to watch. T&T is new to the World Cup, the smallest country, and longest shot to win. I had it on as I was doing some house chores and it drew me in. I also tend not to like games without goals, but this was the exception. I was fascinated by the courage and mettle of the Trinidadians and Tobagans on the one hand and the growing desperation of the Swedes. For the T&Tians the tie was the greatest victory and for the Swedes it was a major defeat.

Today Mexico played. When I lived in Mexico, I had mixed feelings about when Mexico played. They tended not to be good and my father would get mad and yell at the tv. In some ways I found it entertaining, but his foul moods were not pleasant. Away from home, with the children in my neighborhood, we would cheer for Mexico, but then we would have our backup favorite(s). Some of these were Italy, England, Argentina, and Germany. There was a weird kid who liked Poland. My back up was Brazil. I was born in 1970, shortly after Brazil won the World Cup in Mexico. It was their third win and got to keep the original World Cup. When the tournament was started in 1930, they had set up the rule that the first country to win the tournament three times would get to keep the Cup. But I digress - the point is that the win by Brazil in 1970 was a big deal, it had been in Mexico, and for that reason I had an affinity towards it.

Fast forward to 1986, when Mexico hosted the Cup for the second time. I was ambivalent about Mexico at that time. Their star player, Hugo Sanchez, was someone I did not like. My relationship with my father had deteriorated that I actually enjoyed watching him get upset. At the same time, I still hoped that my home country would do well. I still liked Brazil and they had a great team that year. But I had also gained an interest in Germany. Some of my friends at the time were German and I had begun to trace my mother's family to Germany. I was torn when Mexico played Germany in the quarter-finals. It was one game I did not want to watch. Germany won and went on to lose to Argentina in the final.

There has been one other game that tore my allegiances, but I actually did watch that one. It was in the last Cup when Mexico played the US. I pulled for the US a little more in that one. Why? Because I felt like if the US did well, it would spark more interest in futbol in the US. The US did win and I think it did have a positive effect. It has also created a deeper rivalry between the US and Mexico, which can be fun to watch as long as it is good natured (it hasn't always).

So this post has evolved into something I never intended it to be (and it is probably boring everyone out there). My initial purpose was to say that I am enjoying the futbol, however, I seem to be doing it on my own. Futbol has always been a comunal event, where you talk, discuss, and watch the games with friends or even strangers. For the last World Cup, we were in Italy, where even I felt overwhelmed by the coverage and discussion. Sara will watch a game or two with me and listen to the tidbit of trivia I through her way. For the most part she tolerates my interest (read: obsession).

I could search out others who are interested, but the point of futbol in the past was that you did not have to. The interest (read: fever) was all around you. So I will continue to watch here on my own.

So Mexico is off to a good start and the US plays tomorrow. Before things started, I picked The Netherlands to win the whole thing (beating Brazil). After watching them today, I am not so sure.

As to the title of this post, it is part of a cheer for Mexico that I believe started during the 1970 World Cup, but I could be mistaken. I have tried to find the origin and the meaning of the cheer without success. In any case, the whole cheer goes like this:
Chiquitibum a la bim bom ba
a la bio a la bau
a la bim bom ba
Mexico Mexico
Ra Ra Ra!
The cheer is known by almost every Mexican. There was a satirical (and very controversial) film made in the 1970s in Mexico with the title "Mexico, Mexico, Ra, Ra, Ra", which I have looked for, but failed to find. So if anyone knows of about the cheer or the film, let me know.

Ok, that's it.

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