In the face of economic and social crises, the Boca Juniors fan at least knows where he’ll go when he dies
Everyone knows that soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and that its
fans can get extremely attached to certain teams. But who knew there were teams
that offer post mortem services to their devotees?
The Facts. The club in question is the Boca Juniors, an Argentine squad with yellow and
blue colors, beloved in the capital, Buenos Aires, and admired by many around
the world. Apparently the team directors include a few creative types with a notable
sense of enterprise. Their newest idea: the “Cemetery for Boca Fans.” Macabre?
Not at all.
Very soon, not only can Boca followers choose yellow and blue coffins for their
eternal repose. By spending between 900 and 5,000 dollars, they can also be buried
in the Boca cemetery.
The sanctified ground is a fair distance from Buenos Aires, and 300 places have
already been set aside for the most prestigious Boca players and directors.
In a nation going through a very tough period (in 2002 Argentine currency lost
all value, the nation had five presidents in one week, and only now, under president
Kirchner, is the situation beginning to stabilize), soccer is about the only thing
everyone can agree on.
The Statements. Boca President Mauricio Macri announced, “Boca is a way of life, a feeling,
so we’ve invented a definitive way of achieving eternal repose. The cemetery will
be a place where we can all meet again in happiness.” Macri even added a little
joke, “Burial in the Boca cemetery guarantees access to heaven. Just another reason
to pull for us.” But if there are people in Buenos Aires willing to spend hundreds
or thousands of dollars to achieve eternal peace, there are more and more without
jobs or money, who can barely survive from one month to the next. Every day there
seem to be more cartoneros who live by gathering cardboard boxes. They too are hoping for a place in paradise.
But Mario, an extreme Boca fan, appears little worried by his country’s economic
situation, saying proudly; “I’d do anything for Boca. I’m a fanatic. It’ll be
my team until the day I die, and my friends and family who aren’t Boca fans will
have no choice: they’ll have to come visit me in that cemetery.” But Jorge sees
it differently, “They can’t think of any other way to make money. Now they’re
mixing sports and religion. I think it’s out of hand.”
Poking Around. Checking out the team’s official website, we discover a Greenpeace banner with
a statement of support for the campaign against the “papeleras”, next to the announcement entitled, “Our Own Cemetery.” In the meantime, the
team’s opponents are laughing, saying that the cemetery is a place where Boca
fans can hide after a defeat. Soccer somehow seems insulated from the general
economic and social crisis.