August 29th, 2011
Mexico Isn’t All Violence, Despite Soccer Match Gunfire

By Wuicho Vargas

On August 21 of the year 2011 the game of Monarcas from Morelia, Michoacán Mexico versus the Santos of Torreón, Coahuila was being played like normal in Torreón. The game was all right I thought, despite the fact that I am personally a fan of Los Tigres of the Universidad de Nuevo León, but due to a family connection with Morelia, I decided to watch it while drinking some beer. It was Saturday, and that is usually how our Saturday ritual goes.   

Everything was good, the game was all right as I mentioned, that is until it was almost half time. Four minutes before the first half was over, the sound of several spurts of gunfire filled the stadium. The players panicked and ran to the lockers immediately. Spectators decided to run into the field and towards the exit. It was total havoc, and for about 10 minutes people where either on the floor, or running scared.

Later, it was found that the gunfire took place outside the stadium. There are retenes, or check points, where people have to stop for police or military checks. According to police, people inside a vehicle decided not to stop and to shoot at them. This ignited a series of shots that echoed inside the stadium and as a result people believed that the shots took place inside the stadium.

It is sad to hear that we, Mexicans, are known to the world as violent people. This created big news around Mexico and the world. It couldn’t be hidden from the world because it took place during a live game. Another thing, the reaction of many people to the shooting was very professional. They stood still and the stadiums staff did an excellent job of keeping calm.

There was some pushing and some people fell, but there were no casualties and no one got hurt badly. This shows the acceptance Mexicans have of their reality. They are actually thinking about bullets, detonations and what they should do in case this happens to them. This is how much violence has permeated our lives. It is a sad reality to share with the world, but this should, also, help on the fight against this violence. 

I’m just hoping this does not repeat again, and that families once again, return to their seats at the stadium to cheer for their favorite team. A friend of mine from Reynosa told me, jokingly, “They should learn from us, whenever The Broncos play and shots are heard, we usually just get on with the game.” I happened to have experienced the same situation at a baseball stadium in Reynosa [Tamaulipas], but instead of canceling the game it just went on. No one in the stadium was amazed or scared. 

It was just another day at the ball park.

Wuicho Vargas is a writer who lives in McAllen, Texas.

[Photo By Celso Flores]

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