By Steve Mullaney
Either you come from a soccer-mad country and you are able to recite the birthday and favorite color of each player of the national team (Guatemaltecos, in unison now: Mario Rodriguez, 9/14/81 & blue, Carlos Ruiz, 9/15/79 & green, etc.) or you come from a country where the most popular sport is not soccer and you, like me, make the faux pas of referring to football as soccer. So, for the Americans out there who are used to American football; for the Canadians who are used to hockey; and for the Australians who are used to binge drinking as their respective national pastimes, here’s an explanation behind why you saw so many Superchivo flags over the past few months.
To paraphrase the British comedian Eddie Izzard “Do you have a flag? No flag, not a fan.” Having a soccer flag here in many ways is like having a loud motorcycle: the more attention that you can attract from passers-by the more macho you are. Jury’s out on whether or not the ladies swoon over the big flags the way that the fellas think they do (although the same could be said about excessive amounts of hair gel, using enough cologne to gag a street dog, and other such macho attempts at attracting attention). Bottom line is that the same dynamics that are at play in a game of King of the Mountain are also present in a game of Who Owns the Largest Flag?
Flag waving is equally important inside and outside of the stadium. Most major victories of the Superchivos will end with fan-lined streets giving a hero’s sendoff to hometown team. (Losses, conversely, mean a shift from chivos to cabros.)
Similar philosophy can be found behind the ever-popular football scarf. More compact and affordable than the average football flag, the scarf offers more than just an opportunity to have your neck show off your team spirit. For celebrating goals and taunting opposing fans the action is the same: remove the scarf from your neck and stretch it out so that everyone else can read it.
If you do decide to purchase and use a football flag, it’s important to do a little practice before you actually show up at the stadium. There’s nothing more embarrassing than a “flag stall” (when the flag doesn’t catch proper wind and ends up draping over someone in the face). Keep up with your wrist exercises and you’ll be in good shape.