The Past Is In Everything
19 August 2014
Tie. How infuriating, brother! The usual, the thing that has most driven me mad with Caruso Lombardi, and sometimes with Pizzi and Bauza: that fixation on falling back to take care of ties or close victories, instead of making use of continuing to attack the opponent, [which is ] an obvious advantage that San Lorenzo usually has when in possession and control of the ball. This is not in our club´s best tradition. We could have left Asunción with a 2 or 3- 0, but we return to Buenos Aires with a tie against a Nacional that is very inferior to this version of CASLA. I suppose that the upside is that the team will have to come out like a beast from the get-go in the second leg match in our stadium, but I don´t like at all that now we are dragging along a feeling of slight desperation. This thing that always happens to us seems like the law of eternal Cuervo suffering. Nothing truly great comes easy for Ciclón.
Santa Cruz ties.
Hello Cuervo. Here everybody is writing to me and asking about you. "Is Viggo here? Is he coming for the finals?" I tell them: he is filming in the United States of North America and incommunicado. When I was a child, we called it the United States of North America. Anyway, I´m concentrated on winning the Libertadores, brother. I already told you that the night [we played] against Bolivar, when there were ten minutes left to be in the final and that was inevitable, I started crying and left the bedroom where the TV and the match were on because Guada was looking at me with a face that said "I´m going to have another child with an idiot who cries about a soccer match." But I was crying because I was remembering all my little friends from Boedo - and my old man and my godfather - with whom we imagined being in the final of that elusive Libertadores a thousand times. Anyway, last night I swallowed a Rivotril at the beginning of the match to deal with my nerves and I soon realised that CASLA is superior to the Paraguayan team. They dominated during the game and only hung back at the end and we paid for it with that damn goal that left us in suspense. But I ask you: if we were winning, why would we be going for a tie here in the most important final in the history of the club? I think that, no matter how the match turned out last night, next Wednesday CASLA has to play a great match, the best of many and the strange thing is that in spite of going to sleep choking on that damned final goal, I woke up happy. "Why?" I wondered as I went toward the Avenida de Mayo to pay my membership fee. Because I believe that CASLA is the best Argentine soccer team today, because I feel there's no way that they're not going to pull off the Libertadores, because I think that they deserve the trophy since they display intelligent soccer, team soccer, soccer with personality. We are six days from [our] greatest glory. I love all the Cuervos in the world.
Nacho will see the final, like me and the great majority of Cuervos, on television, as one more person cheering them on. His new contract with the Montreal Impact of the MLS, the North American professional league, prohibits him from playing the last match of the 2014 Copa Libertadores. Like him, and like you, I have confidence in the talent and collective strength of this San Lorenzo. It would seem fair, it would seem logical that fate would reward a team that continues playing with more consistency and ease - in terms of sport and team spirit - than any other team in the Argentine First Division for the last two years. Lammens and Tinelli have a lot to do with it through their fine management of the club and their sound recruitment in the technical field. But we know that justice and logic don't always work in soccer. In many cases, we've been luckier than our neighbors, the Quemeros [tr.note:Club Atlético Huracán], but we've also missed out on championships and cups that seemed to be at hand. The last Copa Argentina, for example. We can't be sure of anything. We have to have balls and work with humility like Bauza's guys have been doing so well, and the ones who played for Pizzi. The past figures into everything, and it's appropriate to remember and honor it, but it's past and now we are at another point, a unique moment. The past doesn't have to influence, either positively or negatively, what will happen in the game tomorrow. What's important, as always, is the group effort and the fact of having arrived at this moment on the basis of serious work and a generally bold game. I say "generally" because in the away match, the team retreated in order to defend the advantage of one goal to zero. As in other instances under Bauza, Pizzi - and too many times, under orders from Caruso Lombardi - San Lorenzo has lost such tactical bets. I hope that in our stadium, getting there with an overall score of 1-1, Bauza gives the kids free rein. Win or lose, CASLA should play like a rapacious flock, with order and ferocity, from the beginning to the end of the match.
© Viggo Mortensen.
In 2003, in an interview related to the launch of the last two releases of the cinematographic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings by Peter Jackson, I told the journalist Tom Roston that the result of the quest of the Fellowship of the Ring didn't seem important to me. It didn't matter if that representative group from Middle Earth managed to take the Ring to Mount Doom. I told him that, for me, the most important thing was that this group of diverse beings had decided to join together to undertake a very dangerous journey, a journey that was going to decide the future for many. That was the miracle. What was valuable was the joining together, the intention, the collective daring. The same thing could be said of San Lorenzo de Almagro.
© New Line Productions Inc.
Since I've mentioned Jackson's saga, it's worth adding something that's been a thorn in my side, a regret. Several months ago I gave another interview to an English newspaper during the initial promotion of Hossein Amini's movie, The Two Faces of January, in which they asked me about The Lord of the Rings. Almost always, since the first part of the trilogy premiered in 2001, they've asked me something about it in all of the interviews that I've done for other films, publications, theatre, whatever it is I'm promoting in the professional world. I'm also asked about the adaptation of The Hobbit - if I was going to be a part of it, if I had seen the first releases of this new cinematographic trilogy, if I liked them, etc. That's seems normal to me, since Peter Jackson's adaptations have had such enormous success and have millions of faithful followers.
I always respond as best I can to such questions, keeping in mind, among other aspects of my relationship to that great fantasy universe, that the Trilogy's success has been very lucky for me and given me access to good experiences in cinema. Without having participated as Aragorn II in that story, I wouldn't have been able to work with Cronenberg or portray Captains Alatriste and Dinesen or probably, the lead character of Captain Fantastic, the movie that we're filming now in New Mexico and in Washington State. Well, the English journalist asked me many more questions than usual about Jackson's Tolkien work, asking for my opinions about the evolution of the Trilogy during the long filming, the results on screen, the course of the director since then - really very little about the Amini film that I'd gone around promoting at the end of the last European winter. I tried to be honest, saying that for me the extended version of the first release, The Fellowship of the Ring, was the best because it depended quite a bit less on special effects. My preference is to act face to face with real actors, although at times it's been fun to learn to do it with nothing and no one in front of green screens that then are turned into spectacular animated backgrounds thanks to computer geniuses. As in all interviews, I said that I was very grateful for the experience of participating in the Trilogy and for the new professional opportunities that its success had brought me. Probably being more interested in focusing on my negative comments about the growing emphasis on special effects in Jackson's cinema, the paper didn't include my gratefulness to him and the experience of working under his direction in New Zealand between 1999 and 2003. But I'm not saying that as an excuse. I shouldn't have criticized him. I regret having done it. The thing about special effects - or more accurately the quantity that is used in a film - is a question of personal taste. I admire what Pizzi achieved for CASLA, and what is being achieved by Bauza, but sometimes I give my negative opinion about their tactical approach, like any supporter does. I was doing the same thing with respect to Jackson. I never wanted to offend or insult him. Not in any way. He's a master of today's cinema and I will always be grateful that I was included in his professional world. Piatti will see the Final without playing in it, cheering Ciclón with his heart and soul and I've seen the first two releases of The Hobbit on the first day of their premieres like one more fan. I hope that we win the Cup tomorrow and that the third and last release of the Jackson series has great success.
P.S. The great actor Robin Williams killed himself. He will have had his reasons; he must have wanted to leave. Life is a breath, as the song says, the echo of a breeze. We are going to miss him.
P.P.S. Regarding what you mentioned about calling the USA "Norteamérica," I remember as a child that it was like that and also that some kids in Buenos Aires called me "shit gringo" and would tell me "Yankee go home." But that really only happened a few times. Things they learned from their parents. If all else failed, I defended myself in extreme cases by distributing kicks and punches. I knew that I was for San Lorenzo and that there was not (nor is not) anything greater and more Argentine. In 1968, Los Matadores proved me right and I think that Wednesday in Bajo Flores, the Pipi Romagnoli band will do it once more. Back then, in the second half of the 60's, kids respected each other's soccer preferences and the colors a little more. River's red stripe seemed like a mark of special distinction to me - undoubtedly because that club played well, in spite of not winning the championships that they'd won in the 50's and because any baby knew who El Negro Cubilla was, the implacable Uruguayan striker that was a great Gallina [tr. note: "Chicken," River´s nickname] figure between1964 and 1969 - and for me the Huracán players were just strange cousins. There wasn't the hatred that seems to be promoted so much today in the media and on the street.
The great "Rojitas" in 1969.
The Boca Junior colors being those of the Swedish flag, yes, that always seemed unfortunate if not quite ugly.
Full flag: Palermo feels ashamed in 2010.
By the way, Cubilla won several Uruguayan championships with Nacional and also emerged as champion with Barcelona before going to play with River. In the 1970 World Cup, El Negro scored a goal against Pelé and Rivelino's Brazil in the semi-final. Today Luis Cubilla would be as great as the current Uruguayan forward idol, that other Luis, although of course with a somewhat tamer mouth.
Cubilla in 1968.
P.P:P.S: I hope it´s understood that the thing about Boca Juniors and the Swedish flag is a joke. All colours have their attractive side, and identifying with them is a very personal subject. In the end, human beings are the ones who play, win and lose, whatever color they wear. Colors are light, unstable and tricky. Our individual perceptions of them are different, changeable and illusory. We never see them as they really are. That fact, like the possibility of parallel worlds, is destabilizing. Since I am in New Mexico, I include what the artist Georgia O'Keeffe, who resided and painted in Abiquiu, near where I was fishing yesterday, said about colors:
"I found I could say things in color that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for."
Or rather, it's a feeling that you have deep inside, that can't be explained - as the songs of various [soccer] supporters say.
O'Keeffe and one of her paintings.
© Georgia O'Keeffe.
I´ve been sleeping badly for the last three nights. Yesterday they gave me a ticket; I will go, carrying a photo of my godfather with me. I´ll write to you when this is over; I can´t think of anything but raising the cup. Today is a cold and sunny day, very beautiful. I'm taking the cellphone with me to the stadium in case you want to call. Wherever you are, we are going to be together with the azulgrana people!
Brother Cuervo. I'm going to call you repeatedly during the match. I asked to be free during these two historic hours for our club, the 90 minutes and what could come afterward. They've allowed me to escape from work to shut myself in with the laptop, the candles, t-shirts, flags, medals, little lucky stones and pieces of paper and the hopes of my whole life. I love you.
© Viggo Mortensen.
P.S. I'm calling but I think you can't hear the telephone over the noise of our supporters. Buffarini is possessed. I hope they don't throw him out of the match. Pipi is moving with patience, with his eyes wide open, in a Zen state. Our defence scares me. Torrico's fine, confident, I'm sure of that. I'm dying, Cuervo. It's a rough game. Answer your cellphone, please! Do you have one of those that's a computer? Just in case, I'm sending you what I'm writing now and you call me.
P.P.S. PENALTY KICK! Well struck! Incredible. Let's see if we know how to take advantage of it. Ortigoza kicks it. Good... fine. Cool head. He can do it. GOOOOOOOOOOALLLLLLL! GO SAN LORENZOOOOO! I hope that Bauza isn't scared now, please... Just continue to attack. There you are, Cuervo. I can hardly hear you. Beautiful roar in the background. I'll call you in a while. Hold on, Ciclón!
I want Tito Villalba, the kid from Bajo Flores, to make it 2-0. He's playing with passion. And that the 3-0 is made by Pipi.
Change. Cauteruccio comes out and Verón goes in. Well, we continue the attack, more or less...
Ouch! Almost a penalty against Fredy Barreiro…
A quarter of an hour left. How the Cuervos are singing! Even from here, through this laptop and your cellphone, the vibration, the absolute unity of our supporters, moves me.
Minute 76, another foul call for Barreiro next to the goal area, but it was his hand..... oh-oh…
77… No, no... very bad our defence. There comes Barreiro, Barreiro... and he sent it sky high...
82, Villalba goes out... pity. But Kalinski is a strong bet for the final stretch.
83. Verón dribbles, part of the defence and... no. Deflected. Nice individual play. Maybe a bit greedy...
We need another goal.
85. In comes Julio Santa Cruz, the one who screwed us in Asunción. Careful...
89 minutes, 89 minutes. Hold on, hold on...
90 Torrico caught it...
They add four minutes...
92, foul by Mendoza on Verón...
93 Ortigoza gets cranky. Careful... Kalinski in control, trying to waste time... 94 San Lorenzo gets a corner... Almost 95, another one for the Paraguayan team... the referee has to blow the whistle, the five minutes are already gone!... come on, it´s already over, finished, this has to end, please…
atlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlastatlast at last
absolute happiness absolute happiness
absolute happiness absolute happiness
absolute happiness absolute happiness!!!!!!!!!!
Cuervo, you who've been in the Pedro Bidegain [stadium] on this historic night, I beg you to tell me how our stadium was tonight. I'll call you tomorrow at home to congratulate Anita the Cuerva.
Dear Viggo: In my beginning is my end. So in the beginning, it's an afternoon in '72 and I am seated in my parents' bedroom on the bare mattress. On the TV, they are playing the final of the National [tournament] between San Lorenzo and River. I'm trying to remember why I was watching that match alone, how I made that decision at the age of seven. Would my mother have told me that my old man was in the stadium and that I could watch the match alone if I wanted? The thing is that I am watching it and suffering because of the penalty that Chazaretta spoils and later, in the extra time, I shout out the goal of Lele Figueroa and it's over - CASLA are two-time champions. What I remember after a while is that my dad, hoarse and already back from the stadium, is lifting and hugging me. We are in the courtyard of our old house, on Estados Unidos and Boedo, where my old man was born and where we, the three sons that followed, were born. All Cuervos. Years ago, when I was pushing my luck with Charon - usually on Friday nights - I would have several whiskeys and already high, I would ring the old house and when they answered (97 69 33,) I would say to whoever was there that he was in my house, in my old house. Afterwards they would cut me off violently. Now I´m standing in my studio, about to go out for another azulgrana adventure. For several days, I've slept badly because of the anxiety, waking up in the middle of the night, in what some Americans call "the wee hours"; I always liked that concept. Wee hours, hours in the middle of the night. And there, with my wife asleep on the other side of the bed, I think about the plays by Piatti, with his graphic designer´s baby face, and about Ortigoza, about Matos goal in Paraguay, and about the damned sequence that ends with the opponent´s goal that steals a victory out of our crop. I guess that in my light sleep, in my insomnia, I´m connected to thousands of Cuervos standing on the cables of the lamp posts, Cuervos who can´t sleep waiting for the dawn of the final match. So that's how I am when my daughter approaches - this time it's me and my daughter - and she kisses the emblem on my hoodie three times before I leave for the Nuevo Gasómetro in what will be the longest day of the year, almost a Dostoyevskian white night. Did I tell you about César Francis? He is a brilliant Cuervo who is on the Board of Directors and who is also a legend among journalists, first because he was a journalist and later because, as a lawyer, he´s always ready to help a friend any way he can. His generosity is famous and I can attest to it, when he advised me on a labor problem, when we get together for lunch or [when he] gave me the two most desirable tickets of my life - to see the semi-final with Bolívar (5 - 0) and the final of the Libertadores (1-0). It's two in the afternoon, Viggo, and I'm going to the Gasómetro. I'm going to meet Gustavo Villar, a young man from Francis' Azulgrana Association, called Volver a San Lorenzo [Return to San Lorenzo]. We are going to the stadium with him, a lawyer that I didn't know two days ago and with whom we are going to live through one of the most transcendent days of our Cuervo life. So I go walking out to meet with him. I come out of my house under a winter sun. It's cold and it's going to be much colder in the stands of the Nuevo Gasómetro when night falls. (It was like Antonioni's The Night, that kind of strange party that's waiting for something numinous that's about to happen.) The [whole] world is in the stadium. How, even with tickets, are we going to get in? That's the first thing we are thinking. But it's a perfect day and everything works like a well-oiled machine. At 5:30, they open the doors, the line moves - we are right next to the stands on the south side - and we quickly climb to the top and there we begin - chatting, remembering Cuervo ephemera, pulling out numbers, plays, doing a review of our idols. Let the final begin! It's four long hours that are condensed into the anxiety of the final. It all seems like a dream. Until a big man who is standing behind me says to me, "Now we have to have the ball because there are four minutes left." "What?" I say to him. "Four minutes to being champions of the Americas?" I have lost my sense of time. No, better than that, the nation of time. I was a being in the pure present. We begin to jump. We are hugging Gustavo. Three minutes. In each head, there's a small film with our loved ones, an experimental film made with stuff from the heart. Two minutes. My old man comes home from the stadium and lifts me up; I sense his adult Cuervo smell. One minute. My brothers hug me in a match against Racing that we win 4-3. My godfather, perhaps the most important person in my life, is in a photo in the pocket of the leather jacket I'm wearing tonight. It's a talisman, company. Minute zero: we are champions of the Americas.
Thank you for that beautiful story of what you felt during the match, brother. You will never forget that emotion, those hours that passed like seconds for you. I'm sure that images of that magnificent afternoon of 13/8/2014 will return to visit you until your last breath in this world.
© Viggo Mortensen.
It's the next day. We just finished shooting, here in Albuquerque, shortly before sunset. Like every day, I put up and take down the flag that says "San Lorenzo Campeón," the one that was with me during the shooting of Jauja, Loin des hommes, A Dangerous Method, The Two Faces of January, and on so many other occasions. A storm is coming. You can hear some very impressive thunder that has the asphalt vibrating in the parking lot where I have my car. The red and blue sky is letting lightning loose everywhere. For me, it´s a fireworks party in honor of the new Champion of the Libertadores of the Americas. It´s a wonderful sunset next to the church where we have just shot a sequence with the veteran actor Frank Langella, the one who, not so long ago, was amazing playing the tragic character, Richard Nixon. His acting in the movie Frost/Nixon gave us a desperate and complicated character, a Richard III for our times, and deserved nominations for international awards for this actor. In our story, he is my father-in-law, and after the funeral of his only daughter in that church, we discuss the future of the six children that I now have to raise on my own.
Langella as 'Nixon'.
Now the thunder and lightning are multiplying and it's starting to rain. I'm tired, but I think we've shot some good scenes today. I put the Cuervo flag in my backpack, next to that of Real Madrid and the Montreal Canadiens, others that I usually hang wherever I travel for work. An old habit, superstitious things. The CASLA one is always present and the others almost always. Now, with a little luck, San Lorenzo will be chosen to compete against Real Madrid, the reigning champion of Europe in the Professional Clubs World Cup in Morocco in December. The only team that I don't want Madrid to beat is San Lorenzo. I've been a supporter of Madrid since the late 70's when I saw the multi-tasking Dane Jenning Jensen playing in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, a fondness reinforced by my friendship with the writer, director and Madrid supporter Ray Loriga in the 90's, but I was a Cuervo for life long before that. I hope that these two teams play the final and that it will be a beautiful match. But there's still time before that [happens]. Now the beginning of the national tournament is coming. Let's see if we start off well against Academia.
© Viggo Mortensen.
P.S. Well, since it's a day off, I could quietly watch the match against Racing on my laptop. I feared a slump, but really, it seemed to me that the boys fought in quite an organized way. It´s going to be tough for Cauteruccio to return to the pace and the rapacity he had as forward a year ago, before his injury. And Barrientos will also have to fight hard to play with the ease and precision that he did before. We're going to miss Piatti. Not to mention Pipi, the worst of the losses. But I have confidence in Bauza and in those that are still playing in the San Lorenzo shirt. I hope that Pipi can play the Club World Cup for CASLA, but it seems unlikely to me. He'll already be on another team, playing for Bahía, although his heart will always be with us. It's odd to start talking about the local tournament, of the players that have left and that want to be important for CASLA again, so few days after winning the Cup, but what's been achieved has been achieved and the only real thing is the present. We have to move on. The past is in everything, like the echo of the fire that lives in the whisper of smoke. To continue being great, Ciclón can't slack off. They have to tend the flame that shows that "we are different," as one of our songs says. Opponents, like those from Avellaneda today, are not going to respect us more than before just because we raised the Cup that we've missed [getting] so many times. On the contrary, like always. As Maccius Plautus said, "Homo homini lupus" ("Man is a wolf to man."). Respect is won moment to moment, play by play. Our neighbors from Parque Patricios made a very lovely gesture, congratulating us about La Libertadores, that's true, but sooner or later we will have to measure ourselves against them and there'll be no cup or medal that will help us play that match. The confidence that CASLA is showing now, as a soccer team and as an institution, is difficult to get and can be quite precarious. It´s much easier to lose it than to get it. What we Cuervos have today is achieved and appreciated with a lot of feeling. But the great master Leonardo da Vinci also reminds us that "Where there´s a lot of feeling, there´s a lot of pain." As Cuervos, we have come to terms with this feeling and pain. Life and death are just a process; San Lorenzo is eternal.
To get rid of the bad feeling from the defeat, I went fishing for the afternoon in the lovely mountains bordering the state of Colorado, in a wonderful river, surrounded by a landscape out of a John Ford movie. I also got away to enjoy this place one last time before traveling south, to the Mexican border, to shoot during the next two weeks. I caught a couple of brown trout and a brook trout. Since I wasn´t hungry and had nowhere to keep them until dinner, I let them go. I almost always release what I catch. Tomorrow I will be tired for the shoot, because tonight I will have to drive several hours to reach the next hotel, but I´m happy. The forest, the rivers, being alone in those places, it´s like food to me.
Between Cimarrón and Taos.
© Viggo Mortensen.
I miss my loved ones, I miss close contact with CASLA, with Buenos Aires, with a lot of things, really, but I'm also content living out my small solitary adventures on the mountain. That's also absolute happiness for me, however long it lasts.
P.P.S. Now that I think of it, the thing about landscapes is as subjective as the colors of our love. We grow up with certain images, certain visual ideas and they leave a mark on us forever. I've referred to John Ford's cinema to describe the landscape of the north of New Mexico. I've also done it speaking of parts of Salta [tr. note: in Argentina], Australia, Algeria and Morocco, among other parts of the world.
John Ford during a shoot.
Like many of my generation, I grew up with Western films that were shot in the Four Corners area, where the borders of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado converge. That part of the world has been seen so many times in movies and TV series that many viewers are able to ignore, or deny, the beauty of their own desert landscapes. Photography in cinema is very powerful.
Yesterday, near Río Chama, New Mexico.
© Viggo Mortensen.
Hello, Cuervo. One of the things that worried Nietzsche a lot was that when he was entranced by Wagner´s music, what the hell was he going to do when the music was over. Then life, Nietzsche said, became tiresome, boring. Since last Wednesday, I have been immersed in the intense thrill of the azulgrana music. First was the thrill and now is the joy.
Viggo, we are living (and telling about it in these Sobrevuelos) one of the most glorious epochs of CASLA. This is a time in which San Lorenzo hardly ever loses and plays with presence and stature everywhere, like in '72, like in '68. And we can say that we have seen it, that we were there. I don't want to end this cup correspondence without mentioning the only great decision of Marcelo Tinelli that I know of: having chosen Matías Lammens as president. The guy is a very humble young man, with his head in the right place, who knows that soccer is socially inclusive and that in a sense, San Lorenzo has a transcendental function in our society. The guy doesn't take anything for granted, not even for a second, and I think that over the years, he's going to gain power for himself. In a very short time he has built a club I feel proud of, not only because it wins, but also because of what it stands for: respect for its adversaries, for its history, for its place in the world. I was also moved by what the executive board of the Quemeros
[tr.note : Huracán] wrote. They said that they congratulated us for the Cup and that we´ll see each other very soon. Hopefully El Globo
[tr. note: Huracán´s nickname] players are weakened where they should be by us, their classic rivals.
Sometimes people don't know how much of what we have is thanks to our adversary, how its presence forms and educates us. And finally, it's great to share with you from a distance and sometimes nearby, this azulgrana
passion that takes us out of historical time and puts us into mythic time. Here there are no nationalities, no age differences, no anything. We are Cuervos, on a long power line by a road that the sun and the sky tint with the Ciclón colors.
You are absolutely right in what you say about Lammens, Fabian. A few days ago, I wrote to him, giving him and Tinnelli my thanks, saying, among other things:
"Congratulations, champions! Like all Cuervos in the world, I'm living these days in absolute happiness, a dream come true. Thanks for everything you have done in recent years to help create the perfect conditions so that San Lorenzo could again be a club that is recognized and respected worldwide...The memory of the feats of the Cuervos of 2014 will last forever, but the intensity of the present euphoria will fade little by little, so enjoy these moments! The beautiful in life, like the ugly, passes quickly."
What you wrote about Pipi and CASLA in yesterday´s Perfil
is very good. Here it is for the Cuervos who read us, and who probably didn´t see your beautiful words:
The Illustrated Man
by Fabián Casas
If I'm not mistaken - because I've not read it since I was a boy - there's a Ray Bradbury book that's called The Illustrated Man. It's the story of a man who had his whole body tattooed and every tattoo is a story. The first time I interviewed Leandro Atilio Romagnoli, he was in Spa 12 in Mar de Plata. He was wearing mesh and I was struck by the immense faces of his two parents tattooed almost life-size on his chest. I imagined Pipi's wife, in her private life, living with her gaze locked on her two in-laws. I commented on that to Pipi and he told me, "I never thought of that," and he laughed. San Lorenzo is a collective construction spanning thousands of souls, thousands of stories, but since journalism needs to synthesize, I think that Pipi Romagnoli is a person in whom you can metabolize the whole aleph [tr. note: point in space containing all other points, reference to a Borges short story] of incidents and feelings that went through the azulgrana mind last Wednesday. Like Richard Matheson´s character, he already is a legend. In his initial matches, he embodied adolescent self-confidence, and the ability of the play-maker that one misses so much in world soccer. He is a man of the club who can renounce money but never glory, and who, barely two years ago, saved us from being demoted. I recall his deadly dribble for Gigliotti´s goal against none other than Martino´s Newell´s - and what he did in the first half against Bolivar, in that perfect CASLA match. As Joseph Conrad wrote of Lord Jim, we Cuervos feel that Pipi is "one of us." What does that mean? That he's a simple mortal with a great heart for playing soccer. Unlike those scale model players that look like video game prototypes made of virtual material, Pipi is flesh and bone. And one of the greatest mysteries of humanity is not that computers think like men, but rather that flesh can engender thought and electricity. Like the Spirit, Pipi blows where he will.
P.S. 8/19/2014 Leandro Attilio Romagnoli returned, paying to be able to continue with San Lorenzo and play the Club World Cup in December. The CASLA board of directors contributed a little also to help pay the amount Esporte Bahía demanded for the release of our emblematic winger. You're so great, Pipi! And thanks to the Brazilian club for lowering the price of breaking the contract so that the Cuervo idol could return to Boedo.
Last edited: 6 September 2014 14:32:41