Más allá del fútbol: Esperanza para Colombia/ Beyond Football: Hope for Colombia



***For English scroll down***

Empecemos con una confesión: La verdad no soy fanática del fútbol. No soy de las que me emociono cuando el Mundial se acerca, ni de las que llenan el álbum de monas o tienen camisas de la selección. De hecho, aunque me pareció chévere estar en Colombia para este Mundial (el primer mundial al que hemos calificado en 16 años), tampoco me pareció el plan más emocionante del mundo.

Pero es que de lo que no me di cuenta es que esto va más allá del fútbol. Para los colombianos, esto no solo se trata de poder ser parte del campeonato más importante de fútbol del mundo, esto es un símbolo del avenir del país, de lo que podemos hacer, de lo que vamos a superar.

Y seamos sinceros, los últimos Mundiales a los que hemos ido han sido tan desastrosos que no sorprende que toda la nación haya quedado traumatizada: en el ’94, un autogol que terminó en el asesinato del jugador culpable (Andrés Escobar), en el ’98, una paliza absurda y un sólo gol de parte de nuestra selección.

Después de eso, ¿Cómo le sorprende a la gente la emoción desbordada que se sintió en toda Colombia, y en todo el mundo, después del partido Colombia contra Grecia? Aquí en Bogotá la gente grito en la calle por 3 horas seguidas, y volvieron a comenzar con la farra de la noche. Estoy segura que para muchos, va a ser un día del cual se acordaran toda su vida.

Pero va más allá. Muchos de los colombianos que fueron al primer juego tenían banderas y carteles diciendo cosas como “Colombia es paz”, “¡Colombia te amo! Queremos paz”, “No más guerra”. El hecho de que la gente hable de paz mientras ven un juego de fútbol demuestra que para el Colombiano el mundial es un símbolo de esperanza en el futuro del país.

Colombia está saliendo adelante y ya es momento de que todo el mundo se vaya enterando, que dejemos atrás esos estereotipos mamones de Pablo Escobar y de que todos los colombianos somos narcos. ¡Ahora nos venimos con toda!

Terminemos con otra confesión: La verdad no soy fanática del fútbol, pero me encanta la alegría que este mundial le ha traído a mi pueblo*.


*Claro que no por esto deberíamos olvidar todos los abusos que hemos visto de parte de la FIFA y el gobierno en Brasil. Hay que tener en cuenta que, cómo cualquier gran evento, el Mundial es demasiado complejo y no se puede clasificar como totalmente bueno o totalmente malo.


Let´s start with a confession: The truth is I’m not a football fan**. I’m not one of those people who get excited about the World Cup, or who fill out World Cup albums, or who have their team’s t-shirt. In fact, even though I thought it was cool to be in Colombia for this World Cup (the first one we’ve been to in 16 years),  I didn’t think it was the greatest thing ever.

The thing is, I didn’t realize that this goes beyond football. For Colombians, this isn’t just about being part of the most important football championship in the world. This is a symbol of what is to come, of what we can do, of what we can overcome.

And let’s be honest here, the last World Cups we went to were such giant disasters it’s no wonder the entire nation was traumatized: In ’94, an own goal that got a player (Andrés Escobar) assassinated, and in ’98 a really bad ass-kicking with only one goal scored.

After that, how are people surprised at the overwhelming emotion that was felt in all of Colombia, and the world, after the Colombia vs. Greece game? Here in Bogota, people screamed non-stop in the street for three hours!…and then started again when they celebrated at night. I’m sure that for a lot of people, this is gonna be a day they will remember all their lives.

But it goes beyond that. A lot of the Colombians who went to our first game had flags and posters that said things along the lines of “Colombia is peace”, “Colombia I love you! We want peace”, “No more war!”, the fact that people are talking about peace while they watch a football game shows that for Colombians, the world cup is a symbol of hope for the future of the country.

Colombia is rising up, and it’s time the whole world knows it. It’s time to leave behind the ridiculous stereotypes of Pablo Escobar and that all Colombians are drug dealers. Watch out world, we´re coming at you!

Let’s end with another confession: The truth is, I’m not a football fan, but I love seeing the joy that this World Cup is bringing to my country*.


* Of course, this doesn’t mean we should forget about the problems and abuses that the FIFA and the government have committed in Brazil. We should keep in mind that, like any big event, the World Cup is too complex to be deemed completely good or completely bad.

**I choose to say Football instead of Soccer because 99% of the Anglophone world calls it that and I wanted to be more inclusive.


7 thoughts on “Más allá del fútbol: Esperanza para Colombia/ Beyond Football: Hope for Colombia

  1. Wow! I did not know about Andrés Escobar. How terrible. It is nice to read how football is helping to catalyze expressions of hope and peace in the country now though. It is actually really interesting to see the role that sports can play in expressing society’s current mood. Football can been an outlet of sectarian violence but can also bring the people of a country together behind one team. I am glad right now in Colombia it is the latter!

    1. I completely agree with you on football being a catalyst for both feelings. It’s a bit complicated because there were 10 deaths on Saturday due to the festivities (drunk drivers, drunken fights, people going too wild, etc), so I think you can see both in Colombia. For the most part though, I think it’s brought people together!

  2. It’s awesome that you get to be there for the experience! It’s a really a once in a life time collective effervescence, my boy Durkheim would say.

    Also, check out the map below. Doesn’t seem like 99% of the Anglophone world calls it soccer…

    1. Wow!!! That’s pretty cool and surprising! I gotta admit I did zero research on that, I just assumed since I’ve only ever heard Americans call it soccer. You learn something new every day!

      I can’t say I agree with Durkheim on everything, but collective effervescence is exactly the word for it.

  3. Wow, sure sounds lively over there!! Good to see it happen to your country, it can be such moments like these that people come together to share in such joys. But….I’m not a football/ soccer fan either…hahaha…:)

      1. Haha…I can sit through and watch if I have to but I’m really not interested. Which is why I have no idea who is who on the field…haha…:)

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