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Mexican national team

Chucky Lozano rewards El Tri faithful with late heroics

The diversity of El Tri's fan base was on full display at AT&T Stadium, the good and bad.

ARLINGTON, Texas – What people are generally proudest of, strangely enough, are those things of which they have zero control. For instance ethnic background, what places they are from and their last names. That was evident Saturday night as the Mexican national team played Iceland.

Oftentimes, those things tell a story about us. Although it’s an incomplete one, it can let others know who we are and what we’re probably about.

The Mexican national soccer team is a source of pride for Mexicans, whether they are actually in Mexico or anywhere else. You could see that pride among the pro-Mexico crowd of 44,892 Saturday were at AT&T Stadium as their favorite team. The crowd is believed to have been the largest soccer crowd in the world since the Covid pandemic hit, and it was a friendly.

This was the second event in a month featuring prominent Mexican athletes at AT&T Stadium. Champion boxer Saul “Canelo” Alvarez successfully defended his belt here earlier this month at the so-called Jerry’s World, nicknamed after the Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones. 

The friendly wasn’t a World Cup qualifying match or even a game against a CONCACAF opponent. It was the start of El Tri’s annual #MEXTOUR against international opponents around the United States this summer. 

You may have never attended a Mexican national match in the United States. If you have not, I would highly recommend it, for the people-watching alone. But who are these people that would attend a match during Memorial Day weekend? 

Mexican diversity on display at AT&T Stadium

Well, Mexicans, of course. But which ones? 

  • It’s the hardcore soccer fan wearing their favorite Mexican professional team jersey. 
  • It’s a casual fan who knows perhaps some of the players participating. 
  • It’s mono-lingual Spanish-speaking fans.
  • It’s the young person who can speak just enough Spanish to order at a taqueria.
  • It’s the bilingual person who can navigate their way through both the English and Spanish speaking worlds

Who else did I see? I know my people, so I saw: 

  • Rockeros 
  • Hipsters
  • Stoners
  • Jocks
  • Cowboys 
  • Business people 
  • People from the rancho
  • People from the City 
  • Yuppies
  • Fresas

I saw Texas Mexicans dressed in Columbia fishing shirts, which seemed like the unofficial uniform of all young male Texans. 

Abuelitas were well represented. 

It’s Texas, so I saw trucks. Lots of them. We saw the typical lifted Texas truck as well as the lowered trucks that were more popular in previous generations. I saw work trucks with a cabin full of people coming straight from the chamba as they were still in their work clothes. Their work was still on their hands. 

Sweet sound of home, here and in Mexico

What did we hear in the parking lot? It’s what you would expect –  rancheras, banda, rock en espanol, reggaeton, and American rap. 

Speaking of music, the attendees cheered after the United States national anthem played with the same zeal as they did during “Mexicanos, al grito de guerra”. 

The attendees are proud of who they are now and who they were, in a land they are from, even if that homeland is a distant memory. 

It’s clear that this is a big bandwagon. And there’s room for all of them on the bandwagon. And they’re always looking to add more. 

This is why the use of the word puto” during the contest, a 2-1 Mexico victory over Iceland, was so maddening.  The buzz should be about the star of the game, the amazing Hirving “Chucky” Lozano and not the use of the gay slur.

The allegiance to the word isn’t smart. It’s ridiculous to be so bombastic about the use of the word that will have potentially significant negative consequences for a team. It’s offensive and simply not a tradition worth keeping. 

I’m not the guy who says sports unite people. That’s clearly a tired and untrue statement.  Yet , El Tri obviously can bring many people together as evidenced by the diversity of the people in the crowd. 

The beauty of this diversity is lost in the use of the word. This molehill has become a mountain. It’s a national shame now. The Mexican fans are now known for their boorish behavior, even if they don’t partake in the use of the slur. 

With the collective use of the world, we become at risk of having our demands for social justice, rendered hypocritical and illegitimate. 

We need to be better than this. We currently are not. We came here to “triunfar” to “poner en alto el nombre de nuestro país.” In other words, most Mexicans showed up to AT&T to triumph and lift Mexico’s name. We fall so short collectively when we use that insulting word. 

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