Four years ago, on this same day Honduras was paralyzed for 90+ mins. Our team was playing against El Salvador on a game that it was all or nothing- we had to win. We were playing for a chance of classifying to the World Cup. We had 28 years of not classifying to the World Cup and this time we were so close to making it. The game was played in Cuscatlan, Salvador. Many people traveled to support our team but of course not everyone could traveled so restaurants, bars, houses in Honduras were packed with people watching the game; streets were empty because everyone was watching the game. I remember it was such a difficult game, the score was 0-0 and everything was looking bad because we didn’t only depend on our score but the score of the match USA-Costa Rica. Costa Rica had to lose and we had to win our game in order for us to classify, but none of that was happening. We were not scoring and Costa Rica was winning 2-0. We were all suffering but not giving up, not losing hopes, and I remember clearly how in the second half on minute 18 my all time favorite player elevated our hopes and scored a great goal against El Salvador. The feeling was amazing we were closer than ever. But our game finished and Costa Rica was still winning against USA, the American thing only had 4 minutes or so to score two goals and send them home. In those 4 minutes Honduras was still paralyzed- now we were watching a different game and cheering for a different team, USA. Our team was still in Cuscatlan the field waiting to hear about the results that were going to decide if we made it or not, people in the stadium were quiet hoping for the best. And in those four minutes miracles happened, USA scored two goals and gave us the ticket to a so long dream of an entire country. When our team received the news in El Salvador’s field people went crazy, celebrating, crying, yelling. Our players started running around, jumping of joy, went on their knees and thanked God, hugged each other, they couldn’t believe it- no one could. After 28 years of not making it to a World Cup, we classified once again, we were in it again.
You might think it’s not a big deal but honestly, you would have to be Honduran to understand. That year was such a difficult year in my country- we had earthquakes (which never happens here), we had several viruses killing people (Influenza H1N1), and severe political issues. And after so many bad things happening to us, after a terrible year our football team was giving us hopes and something to look for. It was God’s way of rewarding us. It was not only happiness, but it was something that was making us feel proud of our country- not everything sucked now.
Football in Honduras is a big deal, we don’t only watch it, we live and love it. It brings the entire country together, and it that moment we are all one big family who is hoping for the same- our team to win.
When our national team plays, our country stops moving and we all get together to watch the game. Stores, banks, Universities- everything is closed except for bars and restaurants where you can watch the game. That day everyone is smiling, excited and dressed up in blue and white which is our flag colors, you can also see flags everywhere- cars, houses, banks, malls, etc.
We feel that is more than just a game that we are winning- it just takes our minds off our daily issues. All the deaths, unemployment, violence, corruption; they are all gone for those 90 minutes our team is playing. We are all one big family no matter gender, age or social status. There’s probably nothing that unites our country as much as football does.
We might not have the best team in the world, and we might not be as good as Spain but there’s something you won’t find in some other teams and we got it- our players give out their hearts in the field. They play with passion. And even though we don’t win every single match, it’s such a joy to see them play. We might be pessimistic about everything that happens here but we never are when it comes to our football team, and even when there’s no chances to win we never give up our hopes. And when we win it’s an endless party, you will find people out in the streets celebrating ’til 4 am, hugging complete strangers and drinking all night long.
There’s nothing like living a game in Honduras, and it’s contagious. You can find many foreigners celebrating with us, for our team. It’s impossible to describe or explain why, but there’s something special about watching a game in Honduras. It’s an adventure, it’s an experience full of passion and joy. You can find people who don’t cheer as much for their country as they do for Honduras. I’ve had friends from different places being just as passionate about our team as we are, and when I ask them if they were just as passionate about their national team their answer is no; and they can’t explain why they feel so good to cheer for our team. It’s a mystery but it’s just amazing.
Tomorrow we have a very important match, and it will basically decide if we classify to the World Cup or not, we play against Jamaica. But just like last time, it doesn’t only depend on our score. Costa Rica is playing against a very strong Mexico. In order for us to classify Honduras must win and Mexico must lose against Costa Rica. We are crossing fingers already, and tomorrow is the day when our country will be paralyzed.
If you ask a Honduran who their national heroes are, and who is most respected- it won’t be a politician or the president, it’s our National Football Team. They unite us, they give us joy and hopes of something better, they never fail to make our country happy. Hopefully tomorrow won’t be the exception, and even if things don’t go as planned we have so many reasons to love our team. But we want to cry tears of joy tomorrow, just like we did four years ago!
Vamos mi “H”! Brazil 2014 is more than a dream!
Hasta la vista,