June 27, 2011

Where I disagree with Victor Davis Hanson

... for once. He writes today regarding the Gold Cup (soccer) final from this past Saturday:

“I love this country, it has given me everything that I have, and I’m proud to be part of it,” said Victor Sanchez, a 37-year-old Monrovia resident wearing a Mexico jersey. “But yet, I didn’t have a choice to come here, I was born in Mexico, and that is where my heart will always be.”

That’s a quote from an LA Times story on the booing of the U.S. soccer team by an overwhelmingly Latino audience during a U.S.–Mexico match at the Rose Bowl. Examine the odd logic: Mr. Sanchez is booing the country that gave him “everything” while cheering the country that apparently gave him very little. “I didn’t have a choice to come here,” he says; one immediately thinks, “But you most certainly do have a choice to return to the nation where your ‘heart will always be.’” Can Mr. Sanchez not even offer symbolic thanks to the country that blessed him, perhaps a clap or two at the Rose Bowl when the United States is mentioned? And if the immigration service arrived at the Rose Bowl to bus spectators without legality back to Mexico, where his “heart will always be,” would he boo or cheer?

I don't see in the first quote where Mr. Sanchez "booed" the United States team. I see where he was merely cheering on the country of his birth and culture. Is this really unusual? As some in the comments point out in his article, how would Hanson feel about, say, a Philadelphia transplant to Los Angeles (for employment purposes) who continued to cheer for the Eagles, Phillies, and 76ers? Isn't that essentially the same premise? Hanson would have a much better point if he found a quote of Mr. Sanchez where he explicitly said "F*** the United States -- I hate them!" and actually did boo the US team.

My personal experience is much like Mr. Sanchez's. I was married for 20 years to a woman from Costa Rica. Since Costa Rica and the US soccer teams are both in CONCACAF (the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football), they frequently play(ed) each other in tournaments like the just-finished Gold Cup (the CONCACAF championship) and World Cup qualifying matches. My ex, who again, has been in the US since 1989, always roots (rooted) for Costa Rica. According to Hanson, she should be "ashamed" of this. Again, I think this is nonsense. Although she cheers for her home country team, she is never belligerent towards her adoptive country's team; indeed, she's not even unhappy (much) if CR falls to the US, and actively cheers the US when they play other teams. Now, I'm not sure if Mr. Sanchez (and other Mexicans) do this. I'd hope they would.

I will say that my one experience at attending a US-Mexico "friendly" soccer match wasn't exactly "friendly." It took place at the Meadowlands and the Mexican fans that were seated around us were openly hostile towards the US team and its fans. They threw drinks and other objects at US fans and several scuffles broke out. It was, ironically, a 180 of the "Ugly American" scenario where it was, in this case, Mexicans who were behaving execrably -- and the saddest aspect of that was it's a good bet most of them live and work right here.

Hanson would do better to criticize what US goalie Tim Howard was so miffed about after the Saturday game: The post-game ceremonies were performed in Spanish. Howard was dead-on when he said "You can bet your ass if we were in Mexico City, it wouldn't be all in English."


Posted by Hube at June 27, 2011 11:59 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I have to go with Hanson on this one. According to the L.A. Times article, the crowd didn't just boo the U.S. team during the game. They booed the team during the awards ceremony after they had lost, and most telling, the crowd booed and disrespected the U.S. national anthem. The Star-Spangled Banner is not the U.S. soccer team.

Posted by: W.R. Chandler at June 29, 2011 02:55 AM

Chanman: But that's not the excerpt Hanson chose to use. I don't doubt that what you say happened; I've seen it myself (see my post). But again, what Hanson chose to highlight is pretty harmless.

Posted by: Hube at June 29, 2011 09:33 AM

There was a ton of booing for the US team, the anthem, etc. Many videos on Youtube.

Posted by: Miguel at July 5, 2011 01:55 PM