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billbarney avatar 10:44 AM on 07.13.2017  (server time)
Review of Sacachispas: Documenting Argentina’s Passion

Argentines are nothing if not passionate. They attack tango, wine,
and politics with gusto. But none of these things compares with their
true passion: fútbol.

Soccer connoisseurs worldwide are familiar with the passion at Boca
Juniors matches, where the players’ entrance is greeted with enough
toilet paper to wipe the asses of a small country.

The scene at Boca Juniors’ La Bombonera Stadium

Instead of focusing on Boca Juniors or another well-known Argentine
team, filmmakers Elias Diaz and Ronen Strier chose to make a documentary
about a fourth division team. Sacachispas,
the team which gives the movie its name, might seem to share little in
common with Boca Juniors, but Diaz and Strier show that the passion for
which Argentines are known is not confined to the top teams of Argentine
soccer.

Filmmakers Diaz and Strier

The passion that surrounds Sacachispas
is evident early in the movie, when the filmmakers interview Antonio
Tussia, the team’s first ever goalscorer. As Tussia tries to explain
what Sacachispas means to him, he begins to cry. He apologizes and
explains his tears: “Sacachispas is in my blood. It’s immortal to me.”
Tussia was around at the beginning of Sacachispas. The team was founded
in 1948 by some residents of the Villa Soldati
neighborhood to play in the soon-to-be inaugurated Perón Cup. In the
sixty years since its founding, the team has not lost its connection to
the neighborhood. In fact, the connection may have grown stronger. One
local resident and fan says that “the neighborhood and Sacachispas are
the same.”

Villa Soldati is one of the many shanty towns surrounding Buenos Aires. Like other villas,
Soldati has high levels of poverty. Many of the iron sheet and
cardboard shacks that originally made up the neighborhood still exist
amidst the high-rise apartment buildings that now make up its landscape.
Mud takes over the unpaved streets when it rains. The poor conditions
in Soldati are a testament to recent progress in Argentina’s economy has yet to filter throughout the entire population.

Rather than be ashamed at their poverty, fans of Sacachispas draw their identity from it. They sing a song whose lyrics say,

I was born in a shany town

Made of iron sheet and carboard

I’m from the neighborhood of Soldati

I support the lilac [the color of Sacachispas] and Perón

Sacachispas may draw small crowds, but those who show up are
incredibly passionate. The flags fans construct, the hours of drumming,
and the endless chants show their dedication to the team.

Sacachispas fans don’t let the run-down stadium deter them from supporting their team

Some Sacachispas fans take their passion too far. As Villa Soldati
residents, they feel strong resentment towards more prosperous
Argentines, both in football in life. One fan, taking a page from the
Millwall school of diplomacy, says “nobody likes us and we don’t like
them.”

Sacachispas fans often act on this animosity in reprehensible ways.
They boast of fights with opposing supporters and keep a fence festooned
with flags stolen after such battles. One Sacachispas fan says that if
anyone tries to steal his flag, they’ll have to kill him first.

Another supporter says that murder is not a hypothetical matter, and
claims to have helped kill three opposing fans. The fans, he says, were
chased in between the high rises, where old women dropped flower pots on
their heads. The Sacachispas supporters, he says, pounced on them and
finished the job.

If Sacachispas players have an excess of passion, it can be seen in
the sacrifices they make in order to play for the team. Despite the
second jobs almost all have, they live in the same Villa Soldati shacks
as supporters of the team. Several mention their hopes of eventually
playing at a higher level. Midfielder Gastón Montero says, “I’m a Boca
fan. I always wanted to go there. You never stop dreaming, do you?”

A Sacachispas player after a game

The idea of professional soccer is very romantic, but Elias Diaz and
Ronen Strier show that, especially for small teams, the reality is not
so. While Boca Juniors fans become well known around the world for their
support and Boca players earn huge transfer deals to Europe,
Sacachispas supporters and players toil away, largely unnoticed. But if
fans and players of the two teams share anything in common, it is the
one thing that Argentines feel about their fútbol: passion.

Source: Betbubbles Sports Betting


 
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