Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Making the Case for Argentina

Not sure who to root for with the quarterfinals of the World Cup starting tomorrow? Well, Dave Zirin makes the case for Argentina, who in addition to playing "with the wicked grace of decades past", brings it politically as well:

At a training session in South Africa, the entire Argentine team unfurled a banner that read, "We Support the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo for the Nobel Peace Prize." The group has in fact been officially nominated for the prize and Abuelas president Estela de Carlotto, is in South Africa, meeting with Nelson Mandela and other world leaders. She has also been publicly and literally - embraced by Maradona. The critical work that Abuelas has done will only receive a greater spotlight if Argentina continues to advance. This makes all those connected with Argentina’s dirty war, who still hold tremendous power in the country, increasingly, and deliciously, apprehensive.

I can certainly understand, and have heard from numerous people, that these kinds of political concerns shouldn’t play into our rooting interests when it comes to the World Cup. It should just be about the game. But this is like wishing a double cheeseburger didn’t have cholesterol. There is simply no sporting event on earth more entangled in politics than this brilliantly bombastic tournament. Anytime you have half the earth tuned in - as colonies play their former colonizers and dictatorships challenge democracies - politics follow like rainbows after rain. As long as politics are part of the mix, we might as well support a team that in addition to epitomizing the beautiful game stands with a beautiful cause. Viva Argentina!

I urge you to go read the whole thing, only Dave Zirin can quote from Galeano and Yahoo! Sports writers in the same piece. For those of us who enjoy our sports almost as much as our politics, Zirin is a must read

(image also from Zirin)

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