In my case, the soccer passion algorithm was simple. Just three unambiguous instructions: my uncle Polo gave me the Ñuls T-shirt, he lived in front of Parque Independencia and I liked red and black. The astrologers did not come with myrrh, frankincense and gold, but, instead, I was baptized in the leprous faith by those three infantile deities: the uncle, the path and the pigment of fanaticism.
One evening in April 1988, Ñuls fought –one step away from the championship– against Gimnasia. I lived in Buenos Aires, they played in Rosario, I wasn’t going to miss that game; I would listen to it on LT8. Heroic times! The problem was the reception of the radio signal. But I knew, from previous experiences, that from the Costanera Norte it was reasonably heard. There I put the radiator of a Ford Escort.
That day there was a precocious sudestada. I accelerated towards the river. And the party developed. The waves covered the forecastle and the wind shook the hull. At the end of the second half, Balbo, nape of the neck, brought victory to the red-black. One more step and champions. I calculated the celebration. Outside was the Straits of Messina, Scylla and Charybdis, the confused shores. I celebrated among the irascible waters, although indoors.
How can the event be explained? Or is it not sliding from the saddle to the basement of the mutinous orate?
You spend your life repeating phrases that pile up in the toolbox, but are nothing more than nonsense. One of them is: “passion has no reasons.” A plain astracanada, first of all, because it does have them, and then because no one is interested in them. Lor dazzling passion is always in its effects, not in its causes; in the unexpected visit of the nonsense when falling from the horse, hit by a sudden light.
Passion is like a seamless veil, embossed with hydrogen peroxide molecules, vaporized on our skin, in urgent combustion and in transit towards the soul. From there, it can lead us to an elusive woman, to psychoanalysis or literature, to the school collection of postage stamps or to the ruin that we have as one of the possible destinations. The Passion Train always leads as a passenger without a ticket to a dispossession of ourselves.
As a child I knew the truth; he would have the rest of his life to accept it, because admitting is not the same as consenting. Passion is a possessive feeling like ivy: it sticks in you, you feel it in the burning throb of your temples; you adore yourself when you are and you love yourself much more, when you flee away.
Linked to that red and black coat in an exclusive and exclusive way, I began early to reorganize my vision of the world around it, from which vapors were given off that made it unique and irreplaceable, to the point of becoming the main reason for existing. How else to understand the pesos subtracted at ten o’clock recess from the Vienna bread spread with butter, ham and cheese, which ended up adding what was necessary to buy El Gráfico the week of a Ñuls- Central?
Repeating the match in two-color photos was accurate; eating was not accurate. The contortion of the Ukrainian Valdimiro Tarnawski, the athletic clearance of Ediberto Righi, the infatuation the ball felt for Federico Sacchi, who scored in the second minute of the second stage in the victory against the scoundrels: pictures that still intoxicate with liquor from ink.
No one who has fallen for his fingers of red nettle – lamium purpureum – and black nails can believe that passion is pleasant. They are caresses that cause pleasure, of course, but also pain, and they explain why men change their judgments. They begin as will, but emerge from the chrysalis converted into incontinence and impulse. Thus, the passionate slips towards sin, agnosticism, blasphemy, apostasy and even crime, compromising the peace and dignity of the Nation, by undermining its symbols.
I know what I’m talking about because it happened to me: I intervened the text of the aria “Aurora”, a hymn to the flag, if there are any. The staff was the same, but not the instruments with which I played it in my fervor: an electric trio from Rio de Janeiro, a Lima cajon group, a Colombian vallenato quintet, or Barbarito with his lute and Tito Puente on the timpani. Not to mention the lyrics: “Brava on earth, a warrior squad, / Strong fight, in the loyal field, / one wing is red, the color of blood, / black is the other, terror of the rival.” Why continue? Was he ten years old, nine maybe?
And language … what about language, locked in a mortal struggle against the lexical arbitrariness of passion? I’m not just talking about vocabulary knowledge, or the ridicule of language enrichment; also, of the linguistic lures that allow complex thinking.
The language of passion has a low background, where emotion revolts, and, for the same reason, forges a lunfardo, its own jargon. In football, the word has to be made of brown paper, the easiest to get, because it is the cheapest to give. “Central, tell me how it feels / to have your dad at home” (Central with an accent on the “e”), for example. That is why, when the political scene is played (we won and lost), it languishes. A genuine product of passion is the withered Peronist: “… because the Argentinian (accent on the” e “) is great / that San Mártin (on the” a “) dreamed of”. It is contraindicated to sing it drowsy.
The time of the rapture is always the present. Subjunctive, imperfect, compound forms of the future, past participle, suffocate a moment that is in deflagration. The projection in time is a matter for meteorologists, not passionate. The leprosy songs have to hurt with the force of a cross to the jaw, and the scoundrels snort.
After all, it is not sensible to say: “my passion” for Ñuls. Actually, she is “my” owner. The one that writes the flight plan, from which the bleeding peaches sprout, the one with the coconut, pineapple, lemon and honey caramels.
Generational twin of language, the most eloquent reads in the Psalms: “If I forget you, let me forget my right hand; let my tongue stick to the palate if I forget you, if I don’t let you be my greatest joy.”