The Beautiful Game
We flew back from the one-horse town of Balcameda tonight, leaving behind our driver Jaime who had to backtrack five hours over the one-lane Austral road to his house in the woods. As we approached Santiago, the highways signs overhead read ´good luck Chile,´and ´´ít is possible,´rooting in public for the home soccer team, now playing against Ecuador in a match that might bring them into the World Cup. But our guide Victor told us, in a typically Chilean self-deprecating fashion, that it is not all it seems. ´I love football, but this year, we didn´t do well, so actually, for us to win, Uraguay and Colombia both have to lose for Chile to move ahead.
Everywhere the game is on, men cleaning up the banquet hall have a little radio blaring the game, they are yelling at the radio, and the bar echoes with the sounds of soccer on the big screen. Far off you hear people singing chants about Chile´s team. The soccer stadium here in Santiago seats 75,000, the rest must be content to listen or watch…and cross their fingers for their neighbors to beat Argentina.