“It's like something out of a TV commercial. Watching you guys celebrate the goals, hugging each other, jumping in front of the TV, and drinking Tecates. I don't really get you sports people, but I like it,” Chad commented on Monday, June 23, at my brother’s house in Tijuana.
A small group of friends had gathered to watch Mexico play against Croatia. It was a handsome victory for Mexico — 3-1 — and the whole country erupted in celebration.
We did more than just celebrate the game by jumping like idiot monkeys in front of the TV while my brother’s wife nursed their recently born baby. We went to celebrate with all the rest of people in Tijuana at around 4 p.m.
Hundreds gathered around the Cuauhtémoc statue on Zona Rio. Even the mayor of Tijuana was there, reported Frontera.
“Ehhhhh…PUTO!” shouted everyone in harmony whenever someone grabbed a soccer ball and kicked it up in the air. Around five soccer balls were being kicked in every direction around the statue's perimeter, including the couple of yards of grassy field and the five lanes of traffic that sometimes work as a roundabout. Cops closed the street to all traffic.
A recent FIFA controversy that intended to sanction Mexico's use of the word puto backfired when Mexicans united with social media (#TodosSomosPutos) and agreed that the word puto has no homophobic connotation. (Puto is slang for male prostitute; puta, is the feminine.) This is, of course, debatable, but it is used about as frequently as Californians say “dude.”
“How is he going to get down from there?” Chad pointed out that a fútbol fan had climbed up on the statue above where we were standing. Next thing I knew, he was hanging from Cuauhtémoc's shield by one hand, about to fall approximately 12 feet. And he did, landing on both his feet, bending his knees deeply to absorb the shock. He was seemingly uninjured as people in the crowd helped him up, cheered him, and raised his arms high.
The guy had a level of alcohol and adrenaline that was probably at the highest it had ever been. He seemed not to have felt a thing and grabbed a beer from a cooler. He had a huge gash on his left hand and was bleeding quite a bit. My friend offered his shirt to cover his wound, but all he accepted was a cold beer, which he held, bled all over, and continued drinking.