The Copa América Centenario is over. For me at least – no more stadium. I got to go to the stadium for all three matches held in Houston.
Game 1: Colombia 2-3 Costa Rica
Colombia’s coach Nestor Pekerman miscalculated and lost the match and the first place of the group. Still made it to quarterfinals. Costa Rica closed the tournament with dignity. Interestingly, this is the second time I see Costa Rica play, and they won both times.
Game 2: Mexico 1-1 Venezuela
Venezuela did well and was ahead for most of the game.
A few days after the Orlando gay club shooting, the full stadium respectfully honors the victims with a moment of silence before the match starts. But only a few minutes later, the cultured Mexican fans go back to their famous gay slur:
I get it, people who are obviously straight think it’s funny and not offensive in this context. But it’s up to those who feel offended to decide whether it’s offensive. Also, the joke is kind of old by now.
Game 3: Argentina 4-0 USA
Oh boy, Argentina played at half capacity and completely humiliated the host team. USA had no ball possession and created no opportunities. In the second half, the American players would stay 3-6 feet away from Lionel Messi whenever he had the ball… they simply stopped trying. Due to happy circumstances and the generosity of some people, I sat really close to the field and was able to see the action up-close.
This is my view – short video of Argentina’s 4th goal celebration:
A couple of weeks ago I toured the new stadium with my dad, brothers and their kids and wives. I had already been to the game but for some reason they didn’t let me use the jacuzzi in the locker room that time. Conspicuously absent were my own kid and wife. I suppose they don’t care and I’ll go to Russia by myself in 2018.
I will miss the decrepit homeyness of Estadio Tecnológico where I spent countless afternoons of soccer; that said, this place is amazing. See for yourself: photos from the match day. Photos from the tour in a separate post.
The World Cup ended, leaving us all with that familiar giant void in our hearts that comes back every four years. Oh, and there was the Polla.
Here are some notes on it:
Record participation: 156
Some people complained that the entry fee was high, even more people complained that it was too low. Unsure what it will be next time if there is one.
I added the ability to create your own polla groups, but they weren’t used very much. I think the idea is good but the implementation was too barebones. Food for thought.
A surprisingly large number of people complained or were even scandalized about the use of the term “polla” which is slang for penis in some Spanish-speaking countries. I used the name originally in 2006 as suggested by Jaramillo and kept it since. Interestingly, as people wanted to join, we discovered Wells Fargo disallows transactions with the word “polla” in the description.
Users came from all over the world but mostly from the United States. Is this a tipping point in the popularity of soccer in the US? I doubt it.
Over 60% of all visitors were using an Apple doohickey. Less than half of those were trapped in Windows hell. And only 6% decided to visit from giant Android phones.
I know whose Windows Phone those 77 hits came from.
The Polla system had some massive internal restructuring and it all went surprisingly smooth considering. I am already thinking of improvements for the next round, whenever that is, but it’s not a sure thing.
I made heavy use of Facebook and replaced the internal blog and comment system. It helped spread the word but made the Polla more… sterile. Also, less things to code.
Here’s a photo of the very last place. He won restitution. He’s a good looking guy with enough money to buy you dinner at Burger King. Sadly for all of you out there, he’s married:
Those of you who helped out with the website and the running (Eva, Jose Antonio, Moi): Thank you for the help. Those of you who played: Thank you for playing; do you have any suggestion or feedback? Please use the comments.
Here are some short videoclips from our trip to the World Cup. The Big Bad Huge Photo Dump will come soon.
First, a quick clip of the cheers outside Estadio Castelao right before Mexico vs Brazil. I’ve seen this many times: the rival (Brazilians) cheer for their country, and we (Mexicans) cheer against the rivals. Nobody cheers for Mexico. Hey, at least we weren’t calling anyone “puto”… not yet, anyway.
This is our view before Mexico vs Brazil before it filled up. Yes, we were sitting far. Yes, we paid more money in scalped tickets than I’m willing to admit in order to get in there. But this was it: Mexico vs Brazil in a World Cup in Brazil. Cannot miss it. Odd thing: in the background you can hear a Brazilian cover of Soda Stereo’s hit “De Música Ligera”. Yes, they have covers in Portuguese for every conceivable famous song over there. I heard a bunch from the Doors. Go figure.
Remember the dune buggy in Natal? It may not look it, but going 80 km/hr in the back of a sand buggy completely unstrapped is terrifying. Here’s a little video, and also a video of a random zip line in the middle of the dunes.
More from the games: In the Mexico vs Croatia match we had an overwhelming majority. I recorded the Mexican National Anthem. I usually don’t do that, because I learned in school to stand very straight and sing very seriously, and I really do. This was an exception and I hope it was worth it.
Last one: In Greece vs Ivory Coast I was able to record a decent clip of the Mexican Wave. In every match you go to, someone in the crowd tries to start a wave. It takes a really boring match to get it going good… this was it.