Photo: The Trent

I don’t care about soccer.

I don’t know who’s on which team, I don’t know when the tournaments are played and I sort of know the rules. Try as I might, the Real Madrid and the Barcelona are meaningless. I’m the sort of guy who gets invited to parties where everyone mysteriously shows up wearing their team colors and outfits, and surprise!— they’re really ambushes to watch games. My friends, who have an actual soccer team, stopped inviting me to these things because they can already predict my general attitude.

Unless it’s the FIFA World Cup.

It’s the same game with the same dudes and format, but when the mundial is going on, it’s not really about the sport, it’s about the vibe.

If you’ve lived in Venezuela, the cognitive dissonance makes sense. It’s the same game with the same dudes and format, but when the mundial is going on, it’s not really about the sport, it’s about the vibe. Things in Venezuela have been horrid for a while, so the World Cup has always been the perfect opportunity to come up for air.

Some take it super seriously and get mad when John Doe misses a goal, but to me it’s about the beer and the laughter, cheer up for whatever team we agree on and just have a nice time. I have fantastic memories of walking the street after a game in this joyful outlook, and meetings strangers in the same mindset. Cars would go by with flags on their windows, girls would paint flags on their faces and guys would go around shirtless, with capes of their team. It’s a festival, dude, and you’d have to be dead inside not to join.

I think you know where this post is going, because ever since chavismo achieved its revolution, Venezuela is constant misery-porn. I walked Las Mercedes’ main avenue yesterday, from one end to another, and it was dead.

Well, the tournament is here, son. Why you cryin’?

For context, that’s like our Sunset Strip, it’s the Caracas spot for party, and during a World Cup it’s buzzing with joy and music. Sure, there was a stand at the Sadel square, but it was just that, an oasis not that different from the desert. I read it on Twitter the other day, “Goddamn, I can’t wait for the World Cup to begin so I can stop thinking about this endless suck.” Well, the tournament is here, son. Why you cryin’?

We need as much laughter as we can get, and if you ask me, our soccer medicine ain’t working like it used to. Maybe I’m missing something, since I’m not a sports guy anyway, but just to make sure, we in Caracas Chronicles are going to give you a look at how the Russia 2018 World Cup is seen in our post-disillusion Venezuela. Maybe it’s cheerier in oriente, maybe in Guayana people are making a fierce stand against depression —I’m rooting for this, actually; the best rebellion we can have against the ghost of El Comandante is fighting for happiness.

However it is, you best believe we’ll tell you. Stay tuned.

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  1. I think the game should be played only by guys with no arms.

    Aside from the goalies, soccer players can’t use their arms anyway.

    And it would be much more entertaining to watch.

  2. I also think this is a great article, which puts things in perspective and human terms. How Chavismo has sucked the joy out of the few remaining “free” things which provide that joy.

    Watching futbol.

    My wife hasn’t missed a freaking game and is driving me crazy with her passion for it…

    But she’s doing it from her middle class life in Florida and not Caricuao.

    Victor’s point is well taken.

  3. Good post. And extra credit for linking Black Flag. I saw those guys way (way) back when. Late 70s or early 80s. Don’t remember (or care).

  4. We used to be great at making a joy of life , even when things werent going great , we could turn a medioche ocassion into something enjoyble , now weare in the midst of a crisis in our lives which is constantly deepening and for which there appears to be no hope , the fact that the world cup no longer triggers much of an interest or enthusiasm in most people is a sign of how a dysfunctional tyranny not only makes us miserable in our daily lives but robs us of the capacity for joy , it doenst have to kill or maim or injury people bodily for it to destroy our lives , its enough that it destroys the joy that it could bring us …….!! This article simply underscores the fact of how we are being destroyed from the inside ……!! How we long for the old days , when governments were inept and often tainted with corruption but we still could exercise our natural born talent to find joy in what offered itself to us ,

  5. The Mrs. cares only about the various pageants that Ms Venezuela partakes. Meh. They all look the same. Huge hair. Enormous… hearts. Long legs.

    ElGuapo likes the current export of Venezuelan ball players in the MLB. Eduardo Escobar is my current favorite, as he plays for the local team. For the life of me, I cannot understand how Venezuela doesn’t win every single international baseball championship series.

    But, every 2 years its the Euro Cup, then the World Cup, and we get to see the epic meltdown by the presumed favorites. The look on Maradonna’s fat face the other day was priceless. I wish he had choked on that cigar. THAT is why I watch.


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