The international soccer match between USA and Mexico on Nov. 11 came right after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.
Mexicans and Mexican-Americans have been the target to some of Trump’s worst comments, calling them names such as criminals and rapists. And then of course, there is the wall.
The game had different elements that made it attractive to the press and the fans, both in America and in Mexico.
Team USA had been unbeaten at home in World Cup qualifiers for 15 years. Every time USA had played Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, the score had always been 2-0. And above of all that, the political climate had changed.
“Dos a cero,” (2-0) chanted the crowd at the beginning of the game, hoping to maintain the tradition over Mexico.
Sports fans tend to believe that sports should be just that sports. They should not be tainted with political propaganda or social commentary.
But history tells a different story. Sports is not a vacuum, separated from mainstream society. It is rather a micro representation of society. While we see the best of society in sports, we can also see the worst of society in sports.
I am one to believe that sports can serve the purpose of evolving and breaking down barriers, rather than building them.
Before the game there were people on Twitter advocating for chants of “Build the Wall” during the game. The American Outlaws, the unofficial supporter group of the team, responded by saying “Absolutely not.”
Team USA is an example of the diversity in this country; there are Colombian-Americans, Mexican-Americans and German-Americans. The team is managed by German coach Jurgen Klinsman.
In short, Team USA is a representation of American society. A team of different people coming together to represent the country at the highest level in international competition.
This was a special game for the Mexican fans, not only because it was a qualifying game not only to overturn the history of dos a cero, but to react to the political climate that is going in the United States.
I know many Mexican people were offended by those comments made by Trump, and many Mexican-Americans are in fear of what Trump’s policies might do to them.
I know the game didn’t solve xenophobia or racism, and I know the game will do little to ease the tension between American and Mexican-Americans after the election. But for Mexico, getting that victory in Ohio, in their beloved sport, meant much more than the result.
I am not arguing for divisiveness or that sports should be used as a tool for political retaliation, but it is impossible to separate the two, especially at the international level.
Before the game the traditional picture that each team takes separately was an opportunity that both teams used to show unity. They took it together.
This election has divided the country, and I hope that one day we can look at team USA and their diversity, and that the diversity outside the field can make America great again.
Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.