Monday, April 18, 2016

Sport as a Culture

Did you know that culture isn’t just about race? It’s about religion, food, even sports. I don’t think I really understood that until I moved to Madrid.

I knew soccer was important. My boyfriend (husband now) and his family would watch every single Real Madrid game that ever played. The bars would be filled with cheering fans.

I was never much of a sports fan growing up. I didn’t know the difference between most sports teams, or sports in general. I knew that my brother played soccer on a junior league. I decided that for Christmas, I would get him a soccer jersey. I didn’t think it mattered what kind, just as long as it was a soccer jersey, right?

I went to one of the biggest soccer tourist shops in Madrid and went through all of the uniforms. The more I went through, the more l realized that most of the jerseys were ugly. Most were just black and white, no color at all. Finally, near the back, I found a jersey that had some color. It was red and blue, and perfect. I didn’t know who the player was on the back, and honestly, I didn’t care. It was just important that the jersey I gave my brother wasn’t ugly.

Turns out, it wasn’t a Madrid Jersey. It was a Barcelona Jersey, and my in-laws, the biggest Real Madrid fans in the world, were not impressed. When I sent a picture of my brother wearing a Messi Barcelona Jersey, they bought him a brand new jersey, one from Real Madrid, and with my brother’s last name and age on the back.

Over the years, I’ve learned that a little competition is fun. So I’m a fan of Barcelona, and it makes watching the games so much more fun.