Santiago, Chile – 14 March 2010
Argentina and Chile meet at the southern end of the continent of South America, and this area is often referred to as the “end of the world,” or el fin del mundo. Why Sport Matters was fortunate to spend a few weeks checking out the passion for sport of these Latinos.
The biggest news during our time here was the massive earthquake that struck the central coastline of Chile on 27 February. We actually felt the earth shaking in Mendoza, Argentina, which is on the eastern side of the Andes Mountains, but only 150 miles from Santiago. As a result, we spent one week longer in Argentina than planned, and unfortunately cut short our time in Chile to only a couple of days.
Why Sport Matters started things off in Buenos Aires, an enormous city and the cultural center of Argentina — which is also known for being the home of the tango. In many ways, the dance of the tango reflects Argentinean life — a unique blend of different cultures, mixed together with romance, passion and a touch of melancholy.
When considering sport in Argentina, it is impossible not to bring up the legendary Maradona – arguably the most famous person in the history of the country. Though respected as one of the best football players ever, we found that many Argentineans are embarrassed by some of his personal behaviors and skeptical about his ability as the current coach of the national team. Nonetheless, he has attained a god-like status and remains a very special and symbolic personality for the country.