Wednesday, July 15, 2009

American Football Mexican Style

We have been hearing a lot over the past couple years about our nephew, Riley's, football team - the Caballeros ( which means Gentlemen or Knights) - and how well he has been doing as a player. We finally got the opportunity to watch one of his games while we were in Playa del Carmen this spring. Although it was only an exhibition game it was still great to get out and enjoy it. I had told Riley that I hoped I wouldn't embarrass him by cheering too loud from the sidelines but he didn't seem to be bothered by the thought at all. Once we got to the game I understood why. In Mexico the cheering rule is: the louder the better and bring whatever kind of noise makers you want. One of the team's sponsors is the Bahia Principe Resort on the Mayan Riveria and they have a drum show that they put on for their guests so there are always members of the drum group at every game with their big, loud drums - which are almost constantly being played along with chants to cheer the team. Even the little ones are being prepped to make lots of noise and get right into it all. One lady was there with a big, empty water jug and a ladle to bang it with! Too funny! As well as making lots of noise you better make sure you are wearing the team colors because the coach has meetings with the parents to make sure they understand the necessity of supporting the team in every way, shape and form. Fortunately for us my brother, Shawn, had extra team shirts we could wear so we wouldn't feel the wrath of the coach (HaHa).

Wouldn't you know that the game was scheduled for the middle of the day, under the bright sun with no cover on the stands to offer some shade. Oh well, we had Suzanne, my sister-in-law, taking care and making sure we put on our sunscreen, wore our hats, had lots of water and that we were yelling and cheering enough. We didn't quite get into the - get up and dance and chant and dance some more mode but probably when we're down there more often and are more comfortable with the people we will get right into it. There was so much happiness and fun being had by all, it was a real party atmosphere. My husband and I sat and reflected on how much more fun and relaxed it was at this game than at anything we've ever gone to back home. Our kids had played soccer from age 5 right through til their late teens and we were always at their games. There was never anything close to the cheering and team support as there is in Mexico. We were saying that at home we'd probably be asked by the refs and coaches to be quiet if we made even a quarter of the noise as they were making at Riley's game. I must say that we really had such a carefree, funloving feeling being at Riley's game. It was such a nice way for people to come together, have fun, enjoy the moment and just put their worries away for a while. I think more of the world needs to lighten up and take a lesson from the Mexican people on enjoying life and seizing the moment.

We look forward to our future time in Mexico where we will get to watch more games with Shawn and Suzanne. On our last visit to our condo in Playa del Carmen we found the local sports field which is walking distance from our condo so in the future we are planning to spend a lot of time at the local games. I'm sure before long we will be cheering, dancing and enjoying life with the best of 'em!

In the meantime here's a typical, reserved Canadian cheer for you, Riley!

Go, Riley, Go!! (HaHa)

PS:  Want to come play in Playa del Carmen?