You could travel on the S line bus or be the driver of the Lamborghini of hundreds of thousands of dollars: in any case, you had to wait democratically for the traffic policeman to open a clearing in Collins Ave and 73rd St. among the Argentines who celebrated that their national soccer team, hand in hand with their captain Lionel Messihad won the World Cup Qatar 2022.
The wait was long: from the three lanes of the main avenue of miami beach, only one allowed, from time to time, the passage of cars. And meanwhile the Argentines sang to you at the window and waved the light blue and white flag in front of the hood and offered you Fernet with Coca-Cola in plastic cups. At some point you ended up taking out your cell phone and recording them.
Because you never saw anything like it in Miami Beach.
Collins Ave is not only important, but in several sections from South Beach until Bal Harbor It’s the only way north. It is never cut. The exception in recent years was the collapse of the building of surf side, where 98 people died. But the third world triumph of La Escaloneta —highly anticipated since the last one, in 1986, with Diego Maradona— simply filled the sidewalks and asphalt with people, and the cut was a fait accompli.
Hundreds of people came to Little Buenos Aires on the morning of Sunday, December 18 to see the unforgettable final of the fifa cup Come in Argentina and France. Some even waited since 2am in front of Manolothe favorite cafeteria-restaurant to go watch all the football matches.
At 9 in the morning, just diagonally to the corner with the best churros in Miami, the Bandshell, an open-air community amphitheater that projected the live broadcast of the game on a giant screen. Since then, the north beach was dressed in light blue and white: the fans, the babies, the dogs, all wore the shirts of the South American team. A flag with the image of Maradona completed the liturgy.
—What was experienced at the time of the game! An anxiety! recalled Rodrigo Balseiro, an Argentine who had emigrated to the beach. At first you felt that he was already there, that Messi was going to touch the world cup, and then that he was escaping from us.
“What a way to suffer,” a passing compatriot interrupted him.
—With the third goal, incredible, from Messi, you thought “3 to 2, that’s it, now yes”. —continued Rodrigo— And we ate a silly penalty.
The heart-stopping definition by penalties did not worry him much: “I knew that Dibu was going to stop them.” However, when Gonzalo Montiel kicked the game-winning penalty, he felt “something inexplicable,” he said. “I knelt down. I cried. It was the most beautiful moment of my life.”
The communities that live in the area supported, for the most part, the Argentines. Cubans, Peruvians, Venezuelans and Colombians participated in the party. Some did not have the official shirt, nor an imitation, but they combined clothes with their colors.
Celeste, an Argentine, brought her neighbor César: “He had told me at the beginning of the World Cup that the final was going to be between us and the French,” she said. And that morning she had sent him a message with another prediction: “Today Argentina wins.” So she Celeste left her house, she knocked on the door, painted the flag on his face and dragged him to the area around Manolo, already full.
—And you didn’t believe me, girl, you said “I wish, I wish”. How would I hope? I always knew that Argentina won, damn it.
The concentration of Argentines occupied two compact blocks and their sides; In some places, like Manolo, there were also people on the roof and in the parking lot, climbing on the palm trees. Getting to the heart of Little Buenos Aires meant parking at least 10 blocks away and walking with strangers in an atmosphere of joy and friendliness.
A little further north, at Collins Ave and 93rd St, the shul from Bal Harbor had organized a parade menorah and a carnival with music and food. The policemen who guarded this beginning of Hanukkah They didn’t quite understand what that “It’s a feeling, I can’t stop” thing was. One of them took out his cell phone and began to record: “I never saw anything like this here,” he commented.
At night the celebration continued in the Little Buenos Aires. Some people carried sleeping children, but few emigrants were willing to leave that bubble of emotions that they had created throughout the day, an evocation of their roots without nostalgia or rancor, pure happiness.
Around the corner, on 73rd St, a nissan Parked gray sported a poster attached to the windshield: the photo of Messi and his phrase “What look, silly? Go there”. That instant classic was repeated in caps and t-shirts.
In the cool of the beach—boreal winter will arrive in a few days—a family sat on the sand with mother, father, and child with the number 10 on their backs, their flag fluttering in the evening wind. On the shore, three men in Argentinean shirts were discussing details of the game in English with an accent from Bostonwhile getting their feet wet.