Don’t cry for me, Argentina
Politics and rugby. For this guy, it doesn’t get much better than this. I got to watch the Argentinian team run rampant through the Rugby World cup, showing a strength and agility that a top tier team would envy. It’s hard to push the Australians around, but push them around they did. And Argentina wasn’t even considered a top tier team. Tier two maybe, but definitely not tier one.
I was at the game to support Australia. However, there was only one couple in the area that was also for Australia. I mean, Australia is No 2 in the world, playing in England, and there are barely any fans in the stadium. Argentinians had begged, borrowed, and stolen to come watch their beloved rugby team play with the Titans, and they thought they could win it. Of course, I talked to a few of them.
“We are becoming a great nation, and rugby is a reflection of our hard work,” said one couple, head to toe in blue and white.
“Back home, we are confident that our democracy will survive the dirty Peronists,” said one young woman. “They have tried every dirty scheme they can, but come Sunday, we will have spoken clearly for our freedoms.” She had already cast her vote before she left. All the folks I talked to around me had also cast their votes before they left. Some had reservations that their votes would be counted, but vote they did.
Then they flew to support their rugby team, whom, eight years ago, wasn’t any better than the US. So what happened in the meantime?
After a solid century of economic decline and turmoil, with human rights violations that would make ISIS proud, Argentina 30 years ago threw that history off and started anew. The journey has been characterized by fits and starts, and corruption. Much like their rugby team.
In fact, their rugby team was rejected by Europe and their regional cups. (Rugby tournaments are called cups.) I mean, after the Falklands, and the fall of the generalissimos, Argentina was used to being kicked around. So the UAR, (Argentinian Rugby Union) approached the Southern Hemisphere nations, who in their own way had been screwed by the same European overlords that Argentina had.
Eight years later, Argentina is going toe to toe with the best in the world. It’s like the Urbandale J-Hawks going toe to toe with Green Bay in eight short years. And that experience for the rugby team, has inspired the hope for the rest of the nation that their fortunes could change.
On Sunday, that has come to pass. It is neck and neck for the Presidency, with only 2 points separating the top Presidential candidates. The run off is scheduled for November. What a story for Argentina.
As I was heading to the gym today, I stumbled into the young woman coming out of the hotel. After a few pleasantries, I asked if she was going to go home after Rugby and vote in the run off.
“Oh, yes. Definitely. If the Pumas can turn become great in eight years with our people’s support, think about what we could do for our country.”
Amen to that.
That’s what sport can do for politics.