Chicago Fire 1, Unam Pumas 0, 6/25/99
--for the security guards at Soldier Field, Chicago

A philosopher once said,
"to know America one must understand
baseball" and he's right to an extent, but
to really know America you have to know
the game the world calls football
in order to see what Americans hate,
so I'm being unAmerican by going
to the football match (called soccer
by law and journalistic convention here)
between the home team and a touring
club from Mexico, sitting in the cheap seats
among the Mexicans and watching
the security guards go nuts! It's insane,
if a guy sneezes (and has brown skin)
he's arrested. In the 40th minute, in fact,
a guard harrasses a guy for cheering from the aisle
and possession of a roll of toilet paper -
in short, for being a Mexican man
at a football match. Okay, if he's throwing
toilet paper and singing in a library, yeah,
evict him, but this is futbol... and
suddenly overhead, from behind me
sailing in the summer sky  two full cups
of beer spiral like oblong UFOs, spin
without spilling a drop until -splash
across the back of the guard
who turns, letting his first victim get away.
Alas, the guard calls for back up and
he and his buddies come right at me.  They
look like they want me to share with them
the White Man's burden, like they want to do
our secret handshake before we set the world
straight again, starting right here in
the cheap seats, and one guard screams "who threw that?"
assuming that I, a fellow Anglo, will point out
the men who got his back all wet:
"No habla Anglish, senor"
I say, and the family behind me,
parents and two little girls, laugh
through clamped lips, and Im waiting
for the guards to toss them and,
now that Im no longer white enough
for the boss, me.  He turns and walks away.
The other guards follow. No beer flies
for the remainder of the half and at intermission
it's scoreless.

Just as the second half starts, the guy
to my left nudges my hand
with a cold beer: "ees for you."
"Thanks," I tell him, surprised.
"Ees no from me" and he points
down the row of seats to men
not making eye contact but letting on
this ones from them...
and we watch the rest of the match
in peaceful, blissful and loud anarchy,
free from the petty  security, though only I
am happy about the goal in the 88th minute.

And why do most Americans hate this game?
I dont know. My guess is that if anyone
can beat us at it, the game (or war) must not
be worth watching. And only godless communism
wants you to go more than 45 minutes
without seeing a commercial.

David Zauhar

If you've any comments on this poem, David Zauhar would be pleased to hear from you.

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