Like most of you out there, my relationship with soccer began at the age of 6, ended at the age of 8, and has now returned to rear its octagonally-paneled head under its rightful moniker: FUTBOL! Certainly there must be some politics we can interject into this sport to sap the fun from it, right?
Yes, there is plenty! But for now, let’s focus on one particularly radical story. Here’s Dave Zirin, sportswriter and political analyst extraordinaire, on team Argentina’s political activism:
This has received next to no media coverage either in their native Argentina or around the world, but the team has fully embraced the courageous group of grandmothers known as Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo. This organization is devoted to finding out the truth about the fate of Argentina’s desaparecidos—the people forever imprisoned or disappeared by the military dictarorship of Jorge Rafael Videla – during Argentina’s Dirty War of 1976-1983.
When I visited Buenos Aires last year I watched las Abuelas march around the Plaza de Mayo (please excuse the inexcusable Spanglish I just employed) and although it was uneventful, one was forced to marvel at the perseverance of those activists. Though their organization stopped marching in opposition to the government in 2006, las Abuelas still march every Thursday to raise awareness for other political causes. The organization has garnered international acclaim, recently receiving a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Also, according to Zirin, who I quoted up top, Argentina’s team just plays futbol better than anyone else — more fluid, less robotic and stiff, etc. It’s hard for me to weigh in on that, but I will say that even an amateur viewer can watch Argentina and see they’re playing at a higher level than any of their opponents so far. And for me there’s the added bonus that I saw a futbol match in Buenos Aires between intra-city rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate, which was the most exciting live sporting event I’ve ever been to. So, go Tevez (who plays for Boca), is what I’m saying.
Here’s a photo of the players holding a banner at a practice session last week in support of las Abuelas [via Harpyness]. Argentina’s next match is against Germany on July 3rd. Root for las Abuelas!