I went to the US-Mexico soccer game at the Rose Bowl Saturday night. Most of what happened I expected.
I knew the Mexican fans would outnumber the American ones. I knew the Mexican fans would jeer us while others would remain sensitive to the land that they lived. I knew the Americans would play hard but lose out to the more talented Mexican side.
What I didn’t expect was such generosity. We met a Mexican fan named Ricardo who gladly shared steak and chicken with us before the game. He moved to the States when he was 10 but he sounded and acted no different than me.
Coincidentally, I heard on NPR that evening that Mexican immigration is now at net zero. There are as many Mexicans coming in to the United States as returning to their homeland. The land of the free is less attractive than it used to be, even without a Trump policy that would send back illegal immigrants anyway.
Rivalries like a US-Mexico soccer match challenge the fantasies of perfect assimilation and reconfirm America’s cultural pluralism. After all, America’s coach is still German.
Saturday night evoked mixed feelings whichever side of the border you were born on. As my brother reminded me, at the end of the day we’re all living on one Death Star.