Brazil has gone totally crazy!

Cecilia Maria B Sardenberg (cecisard@SUNRNP.UFBA.BR)
Mon, 18 Jul 1994 01:40:51 -0300

I know soccer is not very popular in the US, but maybe some of you out
there have followed the world cup (it was played in the US!) and know
that Brazil beat Italy today and became the world's first tetra-champion.
The minute it happened, the whole country - more than 130 million people
- went crazy (myself including) and now, well into the night, many hours
after the game, people are still dancing in the streets, and it is like
Carnaval ('mardi gras') all over. The President has already declared that
tomorrow will be a holiday, so they will probably dance all night. YOu
may not believe, but for the last month and a half (every since the world
cup championship started), every time Brazil played, everything closed
(schools, offices, stores, cinemas, etc, etc.), as everybody here, young
and old, sat in front of the TV, myself one of them (and I don't even
like soccer!), yelling like mad every time Brazil scored a goal.

Since I am totally emotionally involved (after all, I am part of my own
culture...), I was hoping that some of you out there could offer an
explanation for this. Soccer in Brazil is a matter of 'life and death'
as it is all over Latin America. Roberto Da Matta, a Brazilian
Anthropologist has written about it, but do any of you Latin Americanists
know of any other authors that have dealt with this issue?

One of the reasons I am posting this to the list (besides trying to have
some help in understanding my own behavior, of course), is that on
Tuesday there will probably be reporters at our school asking us to come
up with a socioanthropological analysis of why the whole country stopped
to see Romario and Bebeto (the star players in our team) kick a
'thunderball' through the goal line, putting everything else aside for a
whole month. I was hoping that maybe some of you could help me get things
better straigthened in my mind and to think it through more
'anthropologically' than I able to do so now ( I am celebrating our
victory still!!!).

If you don't think this is of interest to the list as a discussion topic
on 'national culture' and 'national passions', please answer me in private.

Thank you,

Cecilia Sardenberg
Departmento de Antropologia
Universidade Federal da Bahia
Salvador, Bahia - BRASIL (The first and only World SOccer Tetrachampion !)