Michael: My wife has brought soccer into our relationship. I’ve been given the yellow card.
Futbol, or soccer as we call it in the United States, is very big in Colombia. On major game days about 50% of Bogotanos wear the bright yellow jersey of the country’s team.
Graciela: This year is the first time Colombia has made the World Cup since 1998. Everyone in the country is ecstatic.
Michael: My understanding,appreciation of and passion for the game is not equal to that of Colombians and many other people in the world. I do know enough that there are two halves each of 45 minutes. Only the goalkeeper can touch the ball with his hands. A yellow card given by the referee is a warning and a red card puts the player out of the game. My fascination, however, is frequently how the enthusiasm for the game affects relationships.
Malls in Colombia set up TVs in various locations. Groups of men stand in front of them like mesmerized statues while their wives run around the stores inflicting damage on the credit cards.
Even the smallest coffee shops place a TV on their wall or put one on stands. The man usually positions himself to watch while the woman stares into her coffee.
Graciela: I know women who never get what I would call a real vacation of going somewhere. Their husbands save up their vacation time for two years then spend a month watching the best in the world play futbol.
Michael: I know that similar things happen in the USA with the Superbowl. But consider this: less than 100 million people watch the Superbowl, yet the last World Cup garnered 3.2 billion viewers. Yes, that is a “B” for billion. And in my opinion the citizens in Colombia are a higher percentage and more into the game than Americans for the Superbowl.
Graciela: Do not misunderstand, many women wear the yellow jersey on game day and watch the match. But the majority of us are not fanatics and we take away different things from the game.
Michael: It is that “take away different things,” that came to our home and my life.
The other day my wife (a beautiful but fiery Latina) and I were having a lively discussion. As an “I know I am right” American the words became louder on my part to make my point against my wife’s Colombian method of extensive use of hand gestures to make hers. This easily could have turned into one of those times resulting in me taking a long walk. However my wife reached into her purse and simply pulled out and held up a yellow card.
Graciela: My husband got the idea immediately. So instead of continuing our discussion the way it was going we ended up laughing.
Michael: Well, there are times when my common sense exceeds my ego and keeps me out of trouble. Besides I never want to find out what happens when she pulls out the red card.
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