This article was written by Monica Chiquito shortly after the World Cup. I think it still has relevance today.
I recently witnessed two extremes that can occur in a country. On the one hand the last presidential election came to polarize so the Colombian society, that the only thing we all agreed about was the lack of popular representation and repudiating the shameful political strategies used by the two campaigns in dispute. On the other hand I have experienced firsthand the euphoria caused by the phenomenon of Team Colombia. The magic of soccer lies especially in his ability to bring people around a common goal with absolute disinterest, just conviction. While World Cup fever lasted no matter our political affiliation, social status, economic status, race or religion, what separated us politically, brought us together with soccer.
Colombia is a country with high levels of poverty and low government intervention, but it has a great tradition with soccer. This sport becomes an activity that requires no financial outlay. Soccer is assimilated by tradition and learned in the streets, as children’s games with neighborhood friends. The skill is acquired by vocation, by practice and knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation, listening to our grandparents, parents and uncles discuss their teams, strategies and players.
For Colombians any activity that brings us joy, or any excuse to get together and have a good time with friends and family, is good. Soccer takes us away from all our harsh reality. We are looking for 90 minutes to forget the social, economic and political problems; We express our joy and passion as we showed the world that we are addicted to optimism, to the party, good energy, and the strength that despite everything, is still afloat, rises up and improves every day. It allows us to take a breath, reset our mood and relax our minds and prepare for the next day’s battles.
For the first time in many years I witnessed a phenomenon as a wave of good vibes around the country invaded, yellow took each of the corners of our country. No wonder that color means optimism, joy, happiness, energy and originality, qualities that make it Colombians stand out around the world. Men, women, children, elderly and even pets wore our shirt with pride as a symbol of unity and support to those who represented us with our heads held high. And the most important thing is not how many times have you fallen, it’s how many times you can get up, I would add, with every fall you get up stronger. Colombia has learned valuable lessons, while we continue walking with all our heavy loads and all without leaving our OPTIMISM and our natural joy. Although I recognize that optimism has made us fall many times in conformity, that optimism addiction has led us to survive, all the problems that we still have to solve, but always with hope.