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"There's a crack in everything"

By Viggo Mortensen and Fabián Casas - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe

16 March 2012

Source: Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro



Hello Fabián,
I´m writing right after talking on the radio with you and Bambi. It´s the morning of the great San Lorenzo day, March 8th. The march for the return to Boedo. I´m dying to be with you all and with the thousands of other Cuervos today, but it´s not possible. I know there will be many, and that history will be made. I´m going to be watching what´s happening on my laptop and in the papers, what they are doing and what is said today. Maybe you´ll tell me later how the march downtown went.

I was thinking about this idea we are kicking around, the one about making allies of the people in Carrefour instead of enemies. Maybe you don´t have to feel rage and shame when hearing or reading that name, when passing in front of the supermarket that they put where the old Gasómetro was. What if we ask them to become sponsors of San Lorenzo de Almagro and the return to Boedo, that they pay CASLA for that honour? If we can put the American company Walmart on the shirt, we can also put on the name of a French supermarket. It seems to me a bit like karate and other martial arts: using the other´s energy, accepting it so it can help you in the fight to go a step further. Right? You try to deal me one; I avoid it and grab your arm. From there, I throw you to the floor or I hug you - whatever is needed to eliminate the threat, the tension. Isn´t that right? In Carrefour´s case, if we accept the sponsoring connection with that firm, maybe it can be to our mutual advantage, that we both end up in better shape. Instead of losing, we both win, and we remove that psychological load. It may seem like madness, but I think that it's a possible solution. As the poet Leonard Cohen said, "There´s a crack in everything; that´s how the light gets in."

© Unknown.

Dear Viggo: We are under the effect of what meteorologists are calling "Brazilian Climate." Heat, heaviness and a lot, I mean a whole lot, of humidity. Yesterday the march was like something unforgettable. They say a hundred thousand people, others a bit more. Incredible. What I feel is that it was not a nostalgic march; we don't want to return to what was before. It wasn't about homesickness. It's to go back - like the movie - to the future. That is, to get back what the military dictatorship stole from us and to return to being in the neighborhood where we were born. A lot of glorious moments passed through my head while I marched in the company of other Cuervo friends and strangers. Today the newspapers gave an account of that crowd that filled the plaza and I hope that it has enabled the possibility of being seriously on our way home.

8th March 2012
8th March 2012.
© Unknown.
We are the azulgrana [trans. note: red and blue] Rastafarians. Rastas wanted to go back to Africa, we to Boedo. I told you that my little daughter is doing her adaptation to preschool. Well, when I got her up this morning and gave her the feeding bottle, while I was dressing her, I was singing to her, "We are going to return/ we are going to return..." And she was looking (at this age ,she stares, sometimes I catch her paying maximum attention and scanning everything to repeat it afterwards) and later she started to say the same thing, shaking her little right hand the same way as me, like my old man did when he was young on the risers of the Gasómetro, like my brothers and my friends and you and all azulgrana people do. To begin with, I think that Romagnoli plays this Sunday. We´ll see what happens. The CASLA spirit remains intact.


TREMENDOUS MEETING of the Cuervos. It was news in the foreign papers as well. The peacefulness with which the Cuervos gathered together is as important as the number of people who participated. The supporters of other clubs haven't been able to gather that many people even for a championship - and without destroying anything. There's peace of mind that comes from knowing that you're asking for something just, that sooner or later justice will be done.

© Unknown.
We have a unique tribe. Let's see if this renewed energy encourages the team to remove the thorn of the defeat against Boca when they play the next match in Córdoba, and then in the cup game with Chacarita.

© Unknown.

Dear Viggo:
What happened Saturday evening was memorable. By the way a script writer assembled the match. It looked like more of the same; within minutes the first attack from Belgrano, an ex-San Lorenzo [player] (Giménez, who, by the way he shouted goal, is a spiteful ex) puts us again in a hole and we had to struggle once more. However, something was perceived immediately; the team didn´t kick it up or anywhere. It didn´t burst and the ball wasn´t burning their feet. Benitez was once again an interesting player, getting there, attacking with guts, like in the match against Argentinos Juniors. And suddenly, Leandro Atilio Romagnoli appeared. Madelón confirmed it from the first and the player didn´t let him down.

© Unknown.
Romagnoli's rescue by the coach is similar to the rescue that Quentin Tarantino did with John Travolta. As you may know, Travolta was going through a low moment in his career and suddenly Tarantino calls him to make Pulp Fiction and the Fat One just nailed it. He hadn't forgotten how to act; he had, maybe, chosen bad roles. It's the same for El Pipi. He arrived erratic, with a headbutt disqualifier that got him expelled from summer soccer, unable to find any way of playing his position on the team. This Saturday, on the other hand, was Saturday night fever. He nailed it; he penned the players into two tight spots, on the chalk line that leads to the corner, or on the right or left side. They kicked him, tried to trap him, but it was impossible. A more mature Romagnoli, in great physical condition. He was unstoppable. At the end, when they chose him as best player of the game, he did a TV interview. Thanking the supporters who had filled the Belgrano stadium (where River began their relegation to the B division and who also gathered more than 100 thousand people in the Plaza de Mayo days before, El Pipi broke down and started to cry. And I started to cry with him at home, my heart moved by the talent of our relentless Ten. Ortigoza deserves a separate mention. [As for] El Mutante (the best nickname in the world), no way that was a penalty. He reminds me of Albrecht. And when he scored the goal, he ran to celebrate with the whole bench of substitutes. It was evident, from that gesture and others, that the team is united and that they support the coach - perhaps even more so than the management, which seems (again going all Tinelli on us) to have tried to seat Caruso Lombardi on the bench that Madelón is warming. Viggo, if Lombardi leads us, at that very moment we're in the B [division], even if we don't get relegated. [trans. note: Marcello Tinelli is an Argentinian TV host, media producer and businessman.]


The thing with Pipi in Córdoba is yet another moving poem in the collection of our club's special memories. A player who's always demonstrated his loyalty to San Lorenzo. A valiant but humble man. A person that we Cuervos will always love to see triumph, so everybody can remember his talent, fighting spirit, and tactical shrewdness. It seems to me that he's one of those guys who can change the trajectory of a match, of a tournament. Let's hope that he remains in good health for a long time, with his strong, generous, and lively game. What more can you ask of a player than Romagnoli's effort against Belgrano and these words that he spoke after the victory?

"This is for us, and also for the people who are always here. They go everywhere with us. And for them, you have to give your all. Whether we play well or not, we're a team that always gives everything."

Fabián, I agree with you completely about Madelón and Lombardi. In regard to San Lorenzo, they can't be compared, either as coaches or as men, especially in the current situation. It's obvious that Madelón is setting the best possible example for the players, that he inspires and unites them. And it's also obvious that he has the pride and dignity of a gentleman warrior. It's a shame that so many people are talking about throwing him out and bringing in Lombardi. I liked how Madelón spoke in the recent post on the Mundoazulgrana page:

© Unknown.
It's possible that we could meet Belgrano again in the Copa Argentina. Just as we, River, and Boca (among others) have, los Piratas [trans. note: nickname for Belgrano] have advanced to the eighth finals. We had luck and drive in the two-legged match we played yesterday against Chacarita. The energy the team had had against Belgrano faded a bit, but luck remained with us. It was wonderful for Migliore to be able to show his courage and good reflexes again. Romeo almost saved us, but in the end our goalkeeper was the one who had to perform the feat.

© Unknown.
I hope that we can make it to the final of the first Copa Argentina on May 25th. If we continue like this, it could happen. I think that this is the first time that we've spoken only about soccer and the current team. Well, it's always feels good to talk about that. To avoid having this entry remain almost without a literary contribution, I include this little story of Julio Cortazar's.

The Lines of the Hand

From a letter thrown on the table a line comes which runs across the pine plank and descends by one of the legs. Just watch, you see that the line continues across the parquet floor, climbs the wall and enters a reproduction of a Boucher painting, sketches the shoulder of a woman reclining on a divan, and finally gets out of the room via the roof and climbs down the chain of lightning rods to the street. Here it is difficult to follow it because of the transit system, but by close attention you can catch it climbing the wheel of a bus parked at the corner, which carries it as far as the docks. It gets off there down the seam on the shiny nylon stocking of the blondest passenger, enters the hostile territory of the customs sheds, leaps and squirms and zigzags its way to the largest dock, and there, (but it's difficult to see, only the rats follow it to clamber aboard) it climbs onto the ship with the engines rumbling, crosses the planks of the first-class deck, clears the major hatch with difficulty, and in a cabin where an unhappy man is drinking cognac and hears the parting whistle, it climbs the trouser seam, across the knitted vest, slips back to the elbow, and with a final push finds shelter in the palm of the right hand, which is just beginning to close around the butt of a revolver.

[translated from the Spanish by Paul Blackburn]


Dear Viggo:
I know you have brothers. I don't know how many. Yesterday they operated on Gabriel, my younger brother, the one I always persist in calling my little brother even though he's a man with two school age sons. The thing is that I was with him at the Hospital Británico waiting for him to come out of the operating room. It was a minor operation, a hernia that he got a year ago playing five man soccer. It's strange how, in my case, anything that affects my brothers sets off an atavistic alarm in my soul. I didn't sleep well the night before the operation and afterwards I was anxious all day. Brothers are strange beings that are born with you, that accompany us as if they were implacable witnesses to our actions. Sometimes they even have traits that resemble us. I remember that beautiful book by Stanislaus Joyce, about his brother, James, entitled My Brother's Keeper. That's what I am, my brothers' keeper. And together we wait for the game with Colón, one more step toward happiness. Hugs.

Stanislaus Joyce
Stanislaus Joyce.
© Unknown.
Stanislaus fought a lot with his famous brother, James Joyce, but, as we see in what he wrote about the author of Ulysses and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, he always respected his artistic accomplishments.

James Joyce
James Joyce.
© Unknown.
"It seems to me little short of a miracle that anyone should have striven to cultivate poetry or cared to get in touch with the current of European thought while living in a household such as ours, typical as it was of the squalor of a drunken generation. Some inner purpose transfigured him."
- Stanislaus Joyce
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Last edited: 8 April 2012 05:33:29