A Week in the Life of Gustavo

"Seems to think that if he fails to write, la migra will find him."--OC Weekly More merriment available at ronmaydon@yahoo.com

terça-feira, junho 04, 2002

This should be the last ones for the day. Let's start off with another instant classic...

What a bunch of crap. They do not cheer because they are Mexican-Americans, Chinese-Americans, etc. 40-50 years ago people came to
America to be Americans, not "hyphens". Now, they come here to embrace our economic system and little else. No matter who wins or loses the World Cup, things will still be the same. Mexico (and half of the drug producing countries in South America) will still be backward, pathetic, third-word, crime-ridden countries who conveniently blame America for their own problems. If they were so great to begin with, why are all of the immigrants here?

Forget soccer. It is a game for kids who do not play baseball. Yes, we do have a culture here: Hot dogs, baseball, back-yard bar-b-ques, mom and apple pie!

PS/ good luck getting a job with a Latin American Studies major; better
switch to Business Admin.

My response...

And baseball is a game to park fat kids behind home plate and on first base.

I love your analysis of immigrants, especially your idealized version of "older" immigrants who supposedly lost all the vestiges of the mother country upon hitting the shores of this country. Assimilation is much more complicated than your simplistic version. Though you don't see it, the immigrants of today are just like the immigrants of yesteryear; I am living proof of that (my parents are immigrants).

And thank you for the best wishes regarding my career choice; I'm perfectly happy knowing that I will be teaching your grandkids one day.
Some nice words...

Your opinion piece on soccer, which I read on the San Francisco
Chronicle, was accurately descriptive, and informative. I liked it! I am
myself a Mexican immigrant with the same feelings you observe and
describe. You have helped me to understand this matter. It is a fact that soccer goes far beyond the simple practice of such a popular sport. Let us just watch this coming Friday England vs Argentina
and we will see and read the reasons why this goes beyond the sport. I
am glad to see your insights.

One minor detail on the Mexican national team: Mexico is called El
Tricolor, or plainly El Tri. The whole team is El Tricolor, not the
plural form you wrote. That is, the team is El tricolor regardless of
the individual players who are part for the team. E.g.. Torrado play
with (or for) ElTri, but he is not a Tricolor. Then again, I am sending you this email to actually express my gratitude for such a great piece, particularly because the American media does not cover much of this game, (which is followed by a third of the whole planet population.)

My response...

Thank you for your kind comments. More importantly, thank you for pointing out my mistake in referring to the Mexican soccer team; I had no clue.
A weird one...

You are SO naive!

My response...

In this particular email, the person only wrote a subject heading...

Why not go be appreciative of your ethinc pride in the crappy country you left?

And so I wrote in kind only in the subject heading...

Maybe because the United States is the only country I have ever called home?
Here's a very nice one...

I enjoyed your article regarding the World Cup this morning, commendable job. I was surprised at the negative responses as a result of the Mexico-US match that you mentioned. I never viewed it as anti-American, but as folks remaining true to their heritage. Lalas was upset the US lost and was dumping on the crowd, sour grapes. Soccer is not as popular in the states as it is everywhere else, Emmit Smith would have his roster spot if it were. And as for Buchanan, well his comments boarder on open bigotry. There is little doubt that beating the US is a big deal. Because of the US’s power we have our noses in so many countries, and viewed as the bully, thusly every team comes in ready to knock them out. But I really do see it as routing for
your prospective country mainly, not against the US. The biggest fans I know are worried about Germany, France and Brazil…in the truest since of the Cup, routing against a team like the US who will not come out of their bracket seems trivial.

Thank you for the effort, sports and politics are usually mentioned in the US only during the Olympics.

My response...

Thank you for your comments. Very few people have responded with your insightful remarks; most have taken the route of reacting negatively to my article. I am glad to see that you have the perspective to understand why many of these immigrants might want to root against the United States in the first place. Thank you once again for your remarks.

Here's the final one. It was addressed to the Letters section of the San Francisco Chronicle, but the person CC'd it to me...

I am a new immigrant from China and an ardent soccer fan. But, I read G. Arellano's "Why Immigrants don't cheer for the .S. soccer team (6/4/02)"with disappointment and utter disbelief.

I will surely and squarely cheer for the U.S. team. There is no doubt in my mind that whoever U.S. team is up against, including China, my ultimate cheer will go to the U.S. team. For sure, if U.S. and China are competing against each other, I will watch with a bit more subdued enthusiasm for obvious reasons. But, if I were to be in a position to cast the deciding vote on the outcome of the game, no matter how painful it might be, my vote will go to the U.S. team. The reason is very clear albeit heavy for me. I chose to come to this country and chose to stay and am being given many opportunities that I would otherwise not have had and/or have, the only thing that I could give back for what I am given is to support and contribute to the betterment of the community that took me in and gave a home. This is not in any way a form of treason of the homeland where I was born and from. I continue to wish them well and believe they will continue to succeed. But, one's loyalty cannot be divided and should always be with his/her immediate community. It is a slight relief for me that U.S. and China are not in the same group, although Chinese men are not Chinese women soccer wise.

As a non-white and accented new immigrant, I understand and feel the frustration and anger felt at times by many fellow immigrants. I have had my own share of those feelings and do not believe they will stop reoccurring from time to time in my lifetime. America ain't perfect, for sure. There might be a "better" country somewhere in another continent as many, particularly those from that continent, like to claim. But, it is not good for me because it would not feel my pain or share my dream. Let's be honest with ourselves, Americans have the biggest heart and America is the best country there is on earth. It must be the best country for us. If it were not, we would not have stayed on. If it were not, it would not allow Mr. Arellano to say such outrageous things in the paper without consequence. So, I cannot even begin to fathom the concept of U.S not being our own country and our subsequently not cheering for the U.S. team. For those of us who chose to live here, U.S is our country. The U.S. team is our team.

Having said that, I believe that soccer is a pure form of entertainment. No more, no less. Sure, sports have been used sometimes as a conduit of achieving political interaction, and will continue to play such a role. But, it is capable of such a role precisely because of its non-political status and its entertaining effect. When we watch any sports, we should all cheer for the best sportsmanship, and the best skills demonstrated, not just on who wins the game. Soccer happens to be one of the sports forms that demonstrate the best sportsmanship in mankind. It always touches me when I see a player pulls up a downed competitor, and see a player kicks the balls out of play to allow an injured player of the opposite side to be cared for. Compare this with walking over and staring down a fallen player in the NBA!

Go, U.S. team. I will cheer for you! We will all cheer for you back home.

My response...

Thank you for your well-taken comments. However, I must disagree with you when you state that soccer is nothing more than entertainment. It is probably the most politicized sport on the planet, even more so than the Olympics. Wars have arisen because of it, as has peace between warring countries. And many countries take their aggression towards each other out in the field (as the Argentina-England matches have shown).

I do not believe that my article said "outrageous" things, as you claim. Far from it. In fact in the text of your letter, you agree with my basic premise (that some immigrants have reason to cheer against the United States) but then state that you feel that that is wrong. I do not have a problem with that. But how can you say I've said something unbelievable yet agree with it? I'm left confused. Thank you once again for your comments.
Wow. What a day. Probably more where that came from. I have never received so much feedback for one article. And you know the saddest part? No one that I know bothered to respond.