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Tag: soccer

Stuck in the Middle (with you)

Over at SB Nation’s Longform, here’s a good one by Jorge Arangure Jr:

No kid who grew up near the border in either San Diego or Tijuana was unaware of what that simple line in the sand meant. It was the great divide: the difference between the land of opportunity and the land of ambiguity.

Tijuanenses, as we called ourselves, loved our city, but we were fully aware that the town served more as a passageway than a destination. Many of those who stayed in Tijuana had no choice. They couldn’t cross the border, either legally or illegally. Tijuana became the city of the stranded.

The border shaped everything around us, and although we may not have realized the extent of it until some of us moved elsewhere, being a border kid was an experience unlike any other in the United States or Mexico. There is a duality of life, a duality of identities, and a duality of geography that permeates everything. Every Mexican kid who grew up on either side had relatives who crossed the barrier every day, who wanted to cross it, or crossed it themselves. The border was as familiar as a sibling, a part of everyday life, never too far away, and sometimes just plain irritating. Rarely did a day pass by without someone mentioning the length of the wait at the border.

Yet despite the hassle – or perhaps because of it – those who live on either side of the border, and the people who live near it, are unique, sharing an identity only with each other.

And Miles to Go…

 

Head on over the SB Nation’s Longform page and read Leander Schaerlaecken’s terrific story, “Out of Bounds”, which details the experience of professional soccer player David Testo, who came out of the closet last year and now finds himself unemployed by the game:

In Vancouver a funny thing happened in the locker room. As David got comfortable with himself his teammates became comfortable with him. The less he hid – without ever being openly gay – the more the bubble grew and the easier life got. They stopped asking and he stopped having to pretend.

Midway through 2007, he was traded to the Montreal Impact – still a USL club at the time – in a lop-sided deal for an old favorite of the Whitecaps’ coach. Suddenly finding himself living in a city with the largest gay neighborhood on the continent, he partied like never before and played well when he wasn’t injured. After a few years, his sexuality was an open secret. Everybody on the club knew. Nobody seemed to mind. For the first time, he became close to his teammates. He could talk to them about his boyfriend and find a sympathetic ear. The locker room, to his surprise, became an easier place to be. Rather than pop, the bubbles joined to form a bigger one.

Opponents knew, too, and at first called him every gay slur imaginable. David was furious, but eventually started deflecting their comments, comfortable as he finally was with himself. He’d realized he could fight homophobia on the field by showing himself to be just as much of a man and soccer player as anyone else. He would help his antagonists off the ground after he tackled them. “I saw certain players change their whole perspective,” he says.

This one is a keeper.

[Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver