Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving sort of ruined.

I don't really like holidays a ton, except for el dieciocho and Thanksgiving. Yes, I'm a foodie. hahaha. Thanksgiving used to be my favorite American holiday. This year V and I had a lovely Thanksgiving lunch with my folks, for which I am thankful. But then, V asked me what we were celebrating. I couldn't remember if it was the first harvest that the pilgrims had after arriving to America, or if it was a feast that the Native Americans prepared for the pilgrims saving them from starvation. According to omniscient wikipedia, both answers are partially correct. Turns out the Native Americans taught the pilgrims to plant so that the pilgrims wouldn't starve to death come winter. It worked out well for the pilgrims, and Thanksgiving is celebrated at harvest time. So it celebrates the first harvest. Then the whites proceeded to kill almost all of the Native Americans.

I've always known that. I don't know why it ruined Thanksgiving for me this year and not other years. Perhaps because this year I read Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, An Indian History of the American West. And so I guess having to explain Thanksgiving to a foreigner six months after reading this book, got to me. I'm just thankful my little nephew and niece didn't ask me. I might have gone off on an "unpatriotic" rant and ruined their childhoods.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Adios San Marcelino, poderoso salvador y protector del futbol chileno...

I just mentioned to my husband how I was hoping to read what the gringa bloggers had to say about Bielsa and nobody's said anything really. At least regarding his choice to quit as trainer of the National team if Harold Mayne-Nicholls weren't re-elected as the president of the Chilean Soccer Federation (ANFP) -which he wasn't. So here goes. The Argentinean, Marcelo Bielsa, one of the best soccer coaches in the world, quit. I'm not a huge soccer fan, but I really like Bielsa. He's a Philosopher Coach, literally. And a bit of an enigma due to his general avoidance of the press and his soft-spoken way. I've watched several of his conferences the last few years and while he's soft spoken, his ideas are wise and pack a punch. Especially interesting to watch was the unexpected conference he called the day before the ANFP presidential elections. Usually pretty concise, here he spoke a lot longer than normal, sharing anecdotes. It was really fun to watch.

Soccer is important in Chile! They rarely have a good team. They don't make it to the World Cup often (because as any Chilean soccer fanatic will be sure to let you know, Chile has to compete against Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay to get to the World Cup whereas the United States competes against Mexico and Central America, which is plenty easier. ) But Chileans love soccer and love their national team even if sometimes juega como las weas (they play like shit). Well, that changed with Bielsa. Under his direction, they beat Argentina for the first time ever in a play-off game. They beat Paraguay in Paraguay for the first time in 28 years. They won in Lima for the first time in like 25 years. They also beat Colombia in an away game the first time ever. He helped form lots of good players, and he led them to the World Cup in South Africa.

Before I go on, I must drive home that Chileans are A CRITICAL PEOPLE. They criticize everything!!!!!! Seriously!! They have a wonderful public transportation system thanks to ex-presidents Ricardo Lagos and Michele Bachelet and all Lagos and Bachelet got for all their hard work was a TON of criticism. Honestly, here in most cities of the United States we are like 20 years behind the public transport in Santiago, la Quinta Region and probably most of Chile!!!! And lots of Chileans can't talk enough shit about it. *Vent finished* (I suppose being uber-critical is sometimes one of their more endearing traits! :P )

In Chile, when someone actually achieves the carino del pueblo, the people's affection, it does call my attention. And, yes, they-especially the men-do love soccer, but seriously the Chilean people's love for Bielsa goes beyond just soccer. Honestly. It does. I think Chileans really like extraordinary but humble people, like Bielsa. I agree with the Bielsa-loving Chileans, Marcelo Bielsa is a Saint. And to that Bielsa responds: no hay Santo sin historia ni pecador sin futuro. There's no Saint without a past, nor a sinner without a future.

After the World Cup was over, the Chilean National Team went to the Moneda to be greeted by the president, and many Chileans outside la Moneda. When Bielsa gave Pinera a "lukewarm greeting", it was controversial. Because Chileans love one of them more than the other. hahaha. Here I've found the truth about the presidential greetings!

Although the Chilean president denies it, many think that Pinera influenced the results of the ANFP elections so that Mayne-Nicholls lost and Jorge Segovia won the presidency thus provoking Bielsa to quit. I don't know if it's true. However, I don't like Pirana, so it wouldn't surprise me. But the real clencher is that the change of ANFP presidency will be good for Pinera's business interests. Since the team he's owner of, Colo-Colo, will receive more money with Segovia as president than it would with Mayne-Nicholls.

I was really sad to hear Bielsa was quitting! I honestly don't like soccer that much, but I like how Chileans are about Bielsa. And I like Bielsa. I was bummed. But I watched a part of a press conference where Harold Mayne-Nicholls spoke and he made me feel better. More or less he said that Chile had a wonderful opportunity with Bielsa. The ANFP put together a project for Chilean soccer that interested Bielsa enough to accept the position as the coach. He said we should be grateful for those four years, and the work that Bielsa, the players, and others involved in the project did for Chile. (He said it so much better than that, but that's the gist.) It made me feel better about Bielsa quitting. This whole Pinera in, Bielsa out situation also makes me happy I'm living in the States now. As a friend of mine said in facebook. "Todo esto me da asco!!!!!" Agreed!