Original Art by ModoGráfico

What a World Cup we had.

I love soccer and I love underdogs, I love losing my voice chanting for Real Madrid, Vinotinto and Spain, and the things I liked the most about this World Cup were the tales of the teams we never thought would make it, players with everything against. The odds were never in their favor, and still, we’ve seen stories of resilience, hope and plain old discipline. To win a World Cup, it takes more than one player. One Cristiano Ronaldo, one Messi, one Modric is just not enough to be the best. It takes a village.

We saw Croatia make it all the way to the final. Now, Croatia is not that big; it’s the 127th largest country in the world, and they have only 2,175 hours of sunlight a year. Not that much, when you consider that there are 8,760 hours in a year.

One Cristiano Ronaldo, one Messi, one Modric is just not enough to be the best. It takes a village.

Croatians survived occupation by Germany and Italy. They survived being a puppet Nazi state. Croatian Jews, Serbs and Romanis survived concentration camps like Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška, they survived the Croatian Revolutionary Movement Ustaše (or Ustashe), a fascist, racist, terrorist organization that murdered hundreds of thousands of Croatians. The Seventeen Principles of Ustaše stated the uniqueness of the Croatian nation, promoted collective rights over individual rights and declared that people who were not Croat by “bloodwould be excluded from political life.Their motto was:

“The KNIFE, REVOLVER, MACHINE GUN and TIME BOMB; these are the idols, these are bells that will announce the dawning and THE RESURRECTION OF THE INDEPENDENT STATE OF CROATIA.”

Sounds very patria, socialismo o muerte, if you ask me.

Later, Croatians endured Tito and Yugoslavia. They survived paramilitary groups of Serbs murdering Non-Serbs, forcing around 170,000 people from their homes. If you look at them now, you wouldn’t tell they had to go through all that. The war ended in 1995, 23 years ago. Not that long.

In this World Cup, Luka Modric was awarded the Golden Ball, and his team didn’t even win. And that gives me hope.

In this World Cup, Luka Modric was awarded the Golden Ball, and his team didn’t even win. And that gives me hope.

I hope we can be as stubborn and resilient.

I hope we can endure and fight back.

I hope we can become everything we’ve always wanted to.

I hope we can change the chavismo that has grown such deep roots in the unconscious collective and buried itself in there, with what now looks like really mighty tentacles suffocating us all.

I hope I can one day see a Venezuelan president elected in fair, free elections, and watch him be cordial and diplomatic towards other Heads of State, like I saw Emmanuel Macron and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic be during the award ceremony after the game.

I hope we can eventually have a government that makes honest, sustainable investments in every field, in arts, science, sports and any other endeavour that contributes to the prosperity of the Venezuelan people.

I hope we can grow, learn and be outstanding in every field.

I hope one day the Vinotinto makes us smile and cry tears of joy because they made it to the World Cup and we can be proud of everything they did, no matter the outcome.

Soccer is played with legs and feet, but also with heart.

Soccer is played with legs and feet, but also with heart. We need more heart, and we need conviction in everything we can be if we put our souls into it. Hopefully, we’ll all be able to do all that, and more, right here. Hopefully, we’ll be reborn from the ashes of two decades of communist devastation. As we now know, it’s been done before.

If Croatia  managed to make it, why can’t we? If they survived over six decades of wars, dictatorship, concentration camps, ethnic cleansing and much more, why shouldn’t we have hope for all Venezuelans?

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