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.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.