Lima, March 29, 2022Updated on 03/29/2022 10:22 am
For some time we have been trying to rebuild our lives. Now we visit our ‘old ones’ without tormenting ourselves. We went for a walk with the children. And we even go for some ‘chelas’ with friends. We can hardly conceive of this reconstruction without soccer, that magnetic sport that can put an entire country in front of a television.
In a few hours we will face Paraguay, and the authorities have allowed the National Stadium to be filled to capacity for the first time since a bug turned the world upside down.
We are a disunited country that is united by a shirt. The white and red of the Peruvian National Team. For her alone we lay down our arms and agree to a ninety-minute truce. Only for her we put aside our political colors. Only because of her we are able to travel to Russia and perhaps very soon to Qatar.
For those of us over thirty, what we experienced in the Gareca era is an exorcism. For those in their twenties, a spring. And for children, normality. The new normal. This generation has fewer pending accounts. They are growing up like the children of the seventies: without humiliation and with the national jersey on top.
The Peruvian fan is the one who uses a rule to check if Rochet got into the goal. The one who clings to his rosary. The one who picks up the garbage after a flag. The one who sold his engagement ring. That other one who asks for the selection in the parish announcements. Or even the one who is calatea, which public demonstration of the soul.
The t-shirt identifies us and even brings us together. It has long since ceased to be just a piece of cloth. It is uniform, clothes to go out and even pajamas. With or without a bow, it can be the best of gifts. A national symbol awaiting officialization.
Tonight against Paraguay will be the skin that shelters believers and unbelievers. Unconditional even if they deny it. All under the same passion and the same skin.