Football_Pallo_valmiina-croppeJust last weekend state and municipal elections were held in most of Mexico.  Here in Baja California the turnout was not very high, perhaps this accounts for the upset, the message has been heard I think.  All mayoral seats went to the PRI or Institutional Revolutionary party, even though the state had been a stronghold for the National Action Party since the late eighties.  This result, as many others in Mexico, point to dissatisfaction, to concern and to fear.  The insecurity felt in many cities in central Mexico and on the border is nothing new.  The military presence though questioned and criticized continues.  We read and listen to news daily about more arrests on the heels of additional violence and reactionary tactics from drug cartels.  Aside from the feelings of genuine distress, there is also a deep sense of weariness, of wanting to evade all bad news and think of something else, in order to go forward.

These past months Mexicans have joined millions of others around the world in doing precisely that, concentrating on something totally different, away from the normalcy of daily life, financial difficulties and all.  Yes we are thankful for the distraction of the World Cup in South Africa.  And without delving into the philosophical importance or shallowness of this pastime, we can all agree that it is indeed an escape.  But then againit is this escape which is keeping many of us from going mad, the expectation and commitment to our countrymenon the field is a welcome catharsis every four years.  I even think that a good amount of U.S.  citizens maybe thankful this time, to change the subject at the end of the day, to hear that team X made an impossible goal and team Y has advanced.

Whether you are one of the privileged inhabitants of one of the countries who can boast having reached the semi-finals, we are all paying attention now.  It is in fact the final stretch, and televisions and computers will be at the ready on Sunday, you may wear orange or blue, or even red, but we will take the opportunity to watch what we hope to be another beautiful game till the end, and toast those players who have made it, those countrymen and women with their painted faces, those crying eyes.

So please bear in mind, it is not that we are not concerned about the now 120,000,000 gallons of oil in the Gulf, we are more than aware, and will be spending hours during each day hearing about ongoing efforts and reactions and how that oil is expected on Mexican coasts by the end of the year, by conservative estimates.  We will think of other countries that are facing natural disasters and political strife.  We will think of Haiti and wonder how they are faring, how much construction has been achieved.  We cannot stop thinking about this hurricane season and what that will mean to all of us around the world.  Yet in our constant state of concern, of involvement or blind commitment to news cycles worldwide, we may still pause once in a while, take a breath and search for the good news, the brilliant news which does happen every day, in every country, in every city, and just maybe on soccer fields.

Carla García Zendejas

Tijuana, Baja California, México