Waiting for Boca

Waiting for Boca

Preview notes to the visit of the continent’s greatest soccer side.

There are two important reasons, other than what happens during 90 minutes on a soccer pitch, why our sport has become so relevant to the world’s general culture.

One, organized soccer has existed for such a long time, that it has turned into one of the best descriptors of the history of our society, at least the one forming over the last 100, now more like 120 years.

Two, soccer has been accumulating stories and legends, almost mythological in nature, about the men who have built the story of the sport, at the world, country and club level.

With 105 years of history, Boca Juniors, the side visiting us next Wednesday, is one important part of this.

That is why the visit of the team from Buenos Aires is so important for pure soccer fans; in the next 10 days, and in preparation for the event, I thought I would write a few short stories to get you tuned with the visit of the “Xeneixes” to the northwest.

Chapter I

The mouth of the little river

Boca Juniors, as its name states, is a football club, born in 1905, to represent the neighborhood of “La Boca” in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

But, what is “La Boca”?

The word “Boca” translates as “Mouth”, and, according to historic recollections by the government of the city, the name was given to a small neighborhood of sailors, that grew by the mouth of a small river, “Riachuelo”, where it ends along the mouth of the big river, known as the silver river, or the river plate.

Amongst the Italians, the largest colony came from another port, Genoa, and according to files, the word Xeneixe means, “From Genoa” 

The neighborhood grew full of sailors, bohemia and artistry, and it took a picturesque look, as the sailors started taking home leftovers of paint from their ships, to paint their houses; and then the window frames were painted in one color, sides in a different one, doors in yet another, to create pictures like those resembled in the street of “Caminito”. (Plug picture here)

Visiting La Boca, which I did in 97, you are likely to note three main things:

  1. The charming old houses with different colors,
  2. The street tango dancers, which you also see in other neighborhoods of the city, the pretty lady with long legs, short skirt, and high heels, the macho like man in a suit wearing a pointy short hat
  3. The impressive stadium of “La Bombonera”, the chocolate box, raising incredibly tall in the middle of narrow streets, from block from the “Riachuelo” and about ten from the big river’s mouth

Oh yeah, you will see kids rolling balls with their feet everywhere, note sure that needs to be noted, though

Boca Juniors is the team from the Genovese “Barrio”, sailors of blood like Christopher Columbus, who came as immigrants, to the south side of our continent

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