You play as you live "is one of those phrases that are repeated until the satiety. The idea that underlies this statement is that certain emotional, cultural, existential characteristics of the protagonists of a game are clearly shown when football is involved.
In the Argentine case it is difficult to escape the feeling that this phrase is true. Do Argentines love football? We love football. We play it all. We always play it. We identify with our clubs. We hold certain traditions in such high esteem that we are terrified that our football clubs (which are non-profit civil societies) may become joint-stock companies that may be owned and sold. The old prejudice that made football a "men's thing" quickly erodes, and Argentines join and adopt it and play it and follow it more and more.
Are we, Argentines, proud of our football? Of course we are. Our intricate self-esteem – a strange mixture of insecurities and arrogance – finds in our way of playing football a reason for legitimate boasting. We are good with a soccer ball on our feet.
You play as you live. And November went to the Argentines, building rivers of words and mountains of speculation about "The end of all time," "The party of the century" or "The clash of the millennium."
Boca Juniors and River Plate defining the most important tournament in the Americas. Something that had never happened and etcetera. Regressive accounts, runaway hearts, suspended agendas, perpetual television gatherings, ridiculous bets, resale of tickets at astronomical prices, suspicions that nothing -never-ever-will-be-same-from-tomorrow, apocalypse, final hinge, end that implies the end of the world as we knew it … and we could not play it.
For several years in Argentina we have decided that the only way to live with those who want another club is not to cross the street, that is, the only way to live together is not to live together, and that is why stadiums can not go visiting fans. And then the security forces must organize an operation in a stadium to which only supporters of the local team can go and nothing can fail … and yet fails.
And after the enormous mishap of having to suspend the game the presidents of both clubs must agree, in principle, to find another date to dispute it. But they will not get it, because they want to collect old insults one of the presidents will try to get the Copa Libertadores won, and the other will try to prevent it, and end up locked in legal disputes and presentation of evidence and lawsuits.
And then it will be the authorities of South American football – the Conmebol – that should be involved in the matter, and after deliberate deliberations will inform Humanity that the best solution for the dispute is to move the party headquarters to another country, located in another continent. , located in another hemisphere, distant ten thousand linear kilometers from the stadium in which the rain of stones was unleashed.
And yet, there is some logic behind all this tortuous ridiculous procedures. That in Argentina you can not play a simple game of football is a resounding failure of our most basic pact of coexistence. That instead of stopping to consider that failure we dedicate ourselves to look for culprits (the Conmebol, Spain, the CIA or the Martians) tells us a lot about ourselves.
A society more and more comfortable in the most stupid fanaticism, increasingly devoted to intolerance, increasingly convinced that the only voice that deserves to be heard is its own, did everything possible to ruin that party to the point of no to be able to play it
What if. The Argentines play as we live. Too frantic to correct mistakes, too immature to accept guilt, too insecure to take responsibility, too impatient to start from scratch, too selfish to suspect that it might be in our interest to keep the law.
But let's not despair. That these sad ideas will accompany us, how much, until Sunday. How much. Because football should be a party that we do not have to dye melancholy, and because in these lands we play football well, and the world admires us, and that night we will finally have a champion of the Copa Libertadores, and what a beautiful party the winners will organize around the Obelisk, and after all, God is Argentine and blah, blah, blah.
You play as you live. But in a country where it costs us so much to live, it becomes very difficult to play.