Did radio kill the video star? Is iTunes killing the album? Are trailers killing the feature length film? For over a year, we salivated over Christopher Nolan’s Dark Night Rises. There was just one problem: we’d never even seen it. We feasted on crumbs and speculated on Frank Miller graphic novels. Come time to eat the meal, we left the dinner table still hungry. Already, folks speak of a reboot and a “Third Rock from the Gotham City Sun” spin. Uggh.
Sadly, the summer swirl of amateur athletes and transfer rumors can also let down fans. However, sometimes a singular event or person or act can shatter all our cynical, preconceived “Van Persie to City” notions. Sometimes, like “the Dark Knight,” greatness can transcend even the Webster dictionary definition of itself. I speak, of course, of Junito. And his possible return.
A brief recap on Junito for the uninitiated. For several years, Barcelona whooped ass and we Madrid fans dreamed (and deep down secretly knew for sure) that my three year old son would lead Real Madrid back to the path of victory. However, at the tender age of four, he retired abruptly and unexpectedly, like Paul Scholes. No more goals. No more cuauteminhas. No more MAGS (Moms And Girls). We were all devastated. I considered giving up blogging to do something productive, like volunteering at a worthwhile charity ala The Second Mile. What became of our beloved future great player?
The chele chulo used his premature retirement to do various activities. For example, in his escuela [school], he participated in a celebration called Centroamerica le baila a las madres [Central America dances for the mothers]. As a hardcore & abrasive unilateralist, I have fully embraced the manifest destiny greatness of my Nicaraguan nationality-by-marriage and took serious offense to my son dancing to a Costa Rican song on Nicaragua’s mother day. Instead of singing “ten German bombers,” I felt a strong urge to shout El Rio San Juan es Nuestro! [The San Juan river is ours!]. However, I swallowed my adopted anti-Tico pride to enjoy a really cute all white uniform and Junito mambo-ing best he could. White. Uniform. The image teased me. So close to a Real kit, yet so far.
Lately, though, Junito’s love of hurling has expanded to other sports. During the Olympics ceremony, Junito’s innocent and enthusiastic gaze grew contagious. I was, of course, a bit cynical about the enterprise. I had heard the horror stories of London gentrification that had displaced lower income folks. I had chuckled along with UK readers about Mitt Romney’s stupidity. The spectacle of the opening ceremony had lost its luster roughly a decade ago. But not for Junito. The chele chulo glued his eyes to the screen. He was elated for Mexico and el tri‘s collection of Olympians. When Nicaragua showed up, he shouted in delight and ecstasy for the roughly six pinoleros in attendance. He even rooted for America, and was devastated at the archery loss to Italy.
And me? Yawn. As a native born American (of Mexican descent), I complained under my breath about Chinese currency devaluation and gymnasts’ birth certificate discrepancies. In the second decade of life, your brain forms and you start to recognize general patterns and problems. In the third decade, your grow depressed that those problems recur without changing. FIFA is corrupt. Capitalism ignores poor people. Socialism suppresses the individual. Global warming warms the globe. Boxers are too lose yet briefs too constrictive. Boxer briefs are too 80s to be considered a valued option.
You also grow spoiled by success. You get used to a certain quality of life. The US won its first Olympic gold? Cool. I’ll check back once we’re at double digits. However, a cynical expectation of success can be toxic. It is also destructive. You grow cynical and expect success, but then you don’t work for it. You become less successful. You grow more cynical. You then sign for Manchester City or PSG.
Dual nationality has not helped. I dread the Olympics for the same reason I grow nervous about US-Mexico soccer games: competing tensions. The Olympics are one of the few sporting events in which American, Mexican, and Nicaraguan athletes can all compete at once and destroy my heartstrings. My worst nightmare is a track event where an American, Mexican, and Nica sprint neck-to-neck-to-neck and then one trips, taking the other two down, and none of them get a medal. The 2009 Gold Cup eviscerated me. I was glad Nicaragua qualified, but three horses in the race was almost too much.
Junito, though, sees things differently. He just wants all his beloved American/Mexican/Nicaraguan athletes to get medals. Truth be told, they compete in varied sports and there’s still a 100 or so rival countries to root against. He has a point.
Junito has also rekindled his love of sport and struck up an extensive exercise regime. Like most five year old boys, he runs just about everywhere. He also ops instead of standing still. Diet-wise, he also consumes enough daily leche con chocolate to fill a modest sized swimming pool. Folks ask: does he still kick a ball? Sure. Sometimes he comes home from school with his chest puffed up, speaking of notching golecillos during his recreo [recess]. He’s also been working on his abecedario [alphabet] and handwriting – despite retiring, he has graciously agreed to sign a Real Madrid jersey for one Webbie W. Webster, a kickstarter backer who is also a hoot on twitter.
Still, Junito’s greatest talent is neither his foot nor his legs nor his famed status as “muy muy musculoso” [very very muscular]. Rather, it’s his head. No, not his aerial cabezazos [headers] at the far post. I speak of his post-nationality consciousness and also his respect & effort to help others. When his abuela, who taught him to dance, hurt her leg and needed surgery and was briefly a wheelchair, guess who put down his leche con chocolate and put his muscles to good use? I’ll give you a hint: not Karim Benzema. So, yeah, if Real Madrid needs Junito, maybe, just maybe the chele chulo could rise to the challenge.