By Edgar Andrés Gaona Monroy (undergraduate FIGRI student)
Every country has one sport that represents it, and which plays an important role in the lives of people throughout the country. It also captures the attention of the people, and investment from the government. This is usually paid back through the joy, trophies and championships that reward this interest.
The passion for baseball or football in the USA is huge, and they can proudly say that they are the best at those sports. What logic dictates is that the main sport of a country must be a sport that the people there know they are good at, for example India and cricket or New Zealand and rugby.
Every rule has its exceptions, and there are some countries that choose a national sport that they aren’t really good at. Colombia fits this description.
It is well-known that soccer is the most beloved sport in this country. This leads us to think back on the number of titles that have been won in Colombian soccer history: one. Yes, one. Therefore, why is soccer our main sport if we are not good at it?
There can be no doubt that soccer is the most popular sport in the world. However, in Colombia we have a lot of other options regarding our main sport that have many merits. Colombia has had a large number of world champions in different disciplines such as boxing, roller-skating, cycling, BMX and weightlifting.
Apparently the excitement generated by an Olympic medal or a world championship in those disciplines isn’t even close to that which is generated by a match of the Colombian soccer team. This even truer if it is against Argentina.
Soccer seems to awaken some sort of passion that flows through the body that causes us to isolate ourselves from the world and the only thing that seems important to us when the game is on, is watching our team.
Soccer is so popular in the world, and also in Colombia because it is very compelling, it is a recurring topic of discussion, and we can even see this as the reason for the confrontations between fans of rival teams.
Nowadays, the Colombian soccer team has awoken our hope because apparently we are ceasing to be a mediocre team, and we have demonstrated that our team can have a decent performance in the next World Cup. For me, the reason for that mediocrity was more a matter of the conviction of the players than a real problem of skills.
We can’t be resigned to the fact of being a mediocre team. We can’t accept that our main sport is a sport that we could never be good at. This generation of soccer players, together with a new coach, has completely changed the idea of the team and can represent that turning point that we have been waiting for. This could be the opportunity to step forwards and become a nation where the main sport is one that we are actually good at.