Friday, May 18, 2007

Uruguayan football etiquette 101

"Haha, look at this country- 'You are gay'"
-Homer (Simpson)

From Buenos Aires, we jumped aboard a ferry to float on over the brown River Plate. During the hour-long voyage I remembered a conversation I'd had a few days earlier...

While relaxing in the TV room in a BA hostel, we got chatting to a guy from Uruguay. Just like the rest of South America, Uruguay is obsessed with futbol. What does that mean for us? Well, one of those weird tidbits that my memory inexplicably chooses to file in a safe and easy to reach place relates to the last World Cup, when the Socceroos knocked out Uruguay in the qualifiers. Something the coach said about Uruguay having a God-given right to be a part of the World Cup sticks out... Anyway, how would the average Uruguano on the street (or in the hostel) feel about this? Time to find out...

The first time I brought the issue up of that game, our Uruguayan friend happily ignored the question, and recited each of the three years Uruguay had successfully captured the World Cup.

I pressed again. The reply this time was simply along the lines of '...yes, football is very important for my country...'. Just a nibble, but this fish wasn't biting hard enough. I'd come this far, I wanted to resolve the question, for science.

One more prod... and a cold stare chills the entire room. The words come slow and quiet on icy breath: 'Yes, we were knocked out by some... kangaroo team'. Absolute silence. Even the TV stopped making noise.

'..but it doesn't really matter to me anyway.'

This from someone who doesn't even profess to be interested in the game. Experiment successfully completed, I shut my mouth and resolve that if this issue ever comes up in Uruguay, it will be me who sidesteps the subject (and claiming New Zealand citizenship if need be).

The boat docked, we were hurried through a just-for-show bag inspection and put on board a bus bound for a Uruguayan beach.

1 comment:

Tinitus said...

that Homer Simpson quote it's the funniest one I've ever heard of him