Flag Football


Habia lluvia en Cd. Oaxaca. It was raining in Oaxaca, so they took down the flag.  We Estadounidenses are used to seeing our flag folded briskly and neatly into a tight triangle when it is taken down for the night or inclement weather.  In Oaxaca, and I presume in the rest of Mexico, the red end of the flag is bundled up by one person, the juncture between the red and white by a second, and so on, and then it is marched back to its storage place like this.  I’m not sure how it is stored.

It is a ritual that is curious to me and I am sure commonplace to Mexicanos, likely dating from the early years of the Mexican State, hundreds of years ago. It occurs to me that many of the cultural differences we find so intriguing in foreign countries date from long ago, when we were more isolated from each other. Just as birds with a common ancestor will evolve into different species on different islands, humans develop different languages and different idioms within those languages, different preparations of food, architectural styles, and more when they are separated by distance and time. Then there are the deliberate and arrogant constructions of difference, such as “American Football”, which bears almost no resemblance to the football played by the entire rest of the world. A melting pot of all the world’s cultures, we desperately needed something to call our own.  We took cricket and shortened it, making it slightly less boring, renamed it baseball, and then held “world championships” that excluded almost the entire world.  We took football (which we renamed soccer), crossed it with rugby, and made it less exciting than either. Of course we also have world championships there too.  The United States, after all, is the entire world to most of its inhabitants.

I am looking forward to enjoying the World Cup in Oaxaca.

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