A Basque in Boise

I had a dream

I know they say everybody dreams while they sleep, but I hardly ever remember my adventures when I wake up. Last night, however, was different because I was able to retain most of the story after I opened my eyes. In one of the dreams, a friend of mine who lives miles away offered to take my kids to the movies, which might not sound too far-fetched, but it is highly unlikely.

The other dream was rated R-ish and totally not happening. I would tell you all about it except my daughter has now developed an interest in following my blog, and she is only eight. Even if she were older, the fact that she’s my daughter prevents me from giving you all too much information.

I am not too worried about the impossibility of my dream to materialize because really, that’s what dreams are all about. Sure, there is the “Follow your dream” and the “American Dream,” and the stuff Disney feeds us on a regular basis, but more often than not, dreams never reach the reality stage. Instead, they give you a chance to relish on what’s probably never going to happen without leaving you feeling uncomfortable.

Xabi Alonso and Javi Martinez, Basque players in the Spanish soccer national team

Xabi Alonso and Javi Martinez, Basque players in the Spanish soccer national team

I must say, I rather enjoy an impossible dream than suffer when the little fantasy that could ends up abruptly. Take the Spanish national soccer team, for example. They left Spain with the very achievable dream of finishing first in the 2014 World Cup. As the defending Wold Cup champion team, fulfilling the dream was not only possible, it was somehow expected. Imagine the hurt, the humiliation, and the anger when they got kicked out two games into the tournament. It made me sad to see them go, but it would have been unfair to the other teams if Spain somehow had made it to the next round.

Yes, I cheer for la Roja (the “Red one”), during international competitions. True story. They used to be called la Furia Roja (the “Red Fury”), but not this year. For this World Cup, they replaced fury with fear, passion with doubt, their confidence broken by the pressure that comes from being the best team in the world.

I know it might sound hypocritical to root for Spain because I’m from the Basque Country, but until I am able to officially support the Basque national soccer team, I need a team I can rally for. I understand that most Basques’ stand on this issue is “La Roja me la trae floja” – which roughly translates to “I don’t give a shit about la Roja” and sounds way better in Spanish because it rhymes – but I feel a connection with the Spanish players that I don’t feel with footballers from other teams. (I could probably feel a real nice connection with a few of the Italian or Argentinian players, but I’ll stick to soccer for this post and that thing about my daughter that I mentioned before). All the hours I spend every season watching as many La Liga games as possible made the Spanish players feel like family.

This year, only four Basques were drafted to play in the World Cup: Xabi Alonso (midfielder), Javi Martínez (midfielder), César Azpilicueta (midfielder), and Stephane Ruffier (goalkeeper). Of those, only Stephane Ruffier has a right to feel no shame for watching the game from the bench because he is the substitute goalkeeper. Just standing there, observing the game when you’re actually in it, is kind of embarrassing.  It is too bad, because most of the time they do play like the big starts they are. So much so, that I sometimes forget Xabi Alonso plays for Real Madrid. That’s how good he is.

Ultimately, I take comfort in knowing that, historically, the Spanish national soccer team is made up primarily of Basque and Catalan players. So, if Basques players can play for la Roja without giving it a second thought, I can cheer them on without feeling guilty. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

Thanks for passing by: ↓

Anne Marie raul Mary Araquistain Mark Bieter Sharon

2 thoughts on “I had a dream

  1. Mark Bieter

    This is really excellent, thanks for raising the topic. I never know how I should feel about Spain in the World Cup, but I suppose I support them. I’m always a little surprised — but completely understand — when my Basque friends are indifferent or anti. I had no idea how Basques have dominated the Spanish national team — it’s not even close! This post puts it all in perspective beautifully.

  2. Henar Chico Post author

    Hey, Mark, thanks! I’d been going back and forth about revealing in public how I felt, and I was prepared for the backlash. Luckily, it looks like most people agree with me, as the only comment I’ve gotten so far has been nice (thanks again). That or nobody reads the blog anymore…

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