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The Spirit of Santi


The view from the de Rajer household

Winter evenings in the de Rajer household are usually spent huddled in front of a cooking stove that doubled as their only source of warmth. It wasn’t the cold that pained young Santiago de Rajer, nor the winds that buffeted their shack high on the hills overlooking Santiago. It was the poor ventilation in their little shack and how it attacked his asthmatic sister; it literally choked the life out of his little Bernadette.

Santi only knew one thing, a gift he inherited from his father and cultivated on the putrid streets of his shanty town. He had to play to save his hermanita. He had to put aside his shameful past, to forget that fatal kick, when as a six year old he had accidentally killed his ageing el abuelo during a kickabout amid the uncollected heaps of rubbish; such was the venom of Santi’s shooting. He vowed to never kick a ball in anger again.

So Santi stowed away, from Santiago – the city of his birth, that city that bore his name – to Singapore and the fortunes that awaited him. But when he arrived, he transformed himself into that most vile of species, an Investment banker, and sat back as obscene amounts of money made its way into his BVI account. It is for my family that I do this, he reasoned.

Yet something still tugged at him. He heard his father’s voice curse him:

Mierda! Despertarse, Santi!


Arturo de Rajer's shoe-shine business

Santi’s father, Arturo, was a close friend of Alberto Granado, ever since the latter’s Poderosa II jumped the kerb and ran into his shoe-shine stall. It was then that Alberto’s riding companion, Ernesto, saw The Great Injustice of unfettered capitalism.

Arturo, with your help, I have seen the truth of Labour’s subjugation. Promise me that you will never let your son forget! Viva Revolución!

Stung by this memory, Santi sought to soothe his Proletarian soul, to make good his excesses, to seek forgiveness from his dead grandfather. He found redemption on a football pitch.

Next to him were Cristós, Manuel, Tomas, Yamai; they wore black, the colour of the favelas from whence they came. Facing them, wearing Red, were Franco, George, Kevin, Mark C., Shankar.

Together, they passed the ball and sought space, with the freedom of an unfettered spirit; as one they harried and chased, as rabidly as they scavenged for food in the shanty towns of their youth; it was a triumph of the collective.

5 goals were scored by Blacks before los Rojos responded. 6-2 became 8-5, then 13-12 before a final wave overcame Rojos and the game – it was more than a game! – ended 19-13.

Nine times the ball nestled in Reds’ goal, nine times Santi looked to the Heavens to give thanks.

Alabanza a ti, Virgen María. Para su gloria I puntuación.

Arturo de Rajer, God rest his soul, would have been proud of his little boy.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Mark L
    Tue 11 November 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Oh Me Gosh…

    (1) Certainly the top contender, if not, it must be the BEST report for 2008.
    (2) Amongst the Black Poor Boys, who is Cristós, Manuel, Tomas, Yamai? Eh…. Clive/ Mark/ Tom & Yassen?

    Wah. Must change name already…

  2. Mark L
    Tue 11 November 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Credit must go to both teams i would say. Black Poor Boys did an amazing TEAM job. Everyone i felt was willing (legs willing if they could sustain) positional play. Santi was in outstanding form, scoring from some rather acute angles. He scored 9, although hee hee he would have had prob 18 chances to score! But 50% conversion rate is not bad. Clive as always was a statue to deal with.. and Tom and Yassei were strength at the back where it mattered.

  3. Santi
    Tue 11 November 2008 at 2:38 pm

    It should have been 9 goals but the referee robbed Santi of his hat-trick of hat-tricks with a dodgy handball call………

  4. rajiv
    Tue 11 November 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Let’s just give you the Golden Boot award now, instead of waiting until the end of the year.

  5. Mark L
    Tue 11 November 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Forgot to add that REDs were pretty amazing. Bearing in mind Franco was not playing 100%, Kevin was at The Pitch for 1st time, and the rest of the team were playing NEW to each other, they were always clawing back!

  6. Santi
    Tue 11 November 2008 at 3:40 pm

    “Praise to Virgin Maria. For your glory I score” – hahahah where does he come with these lines?

  7. Tue 11 November 2008 at 6:52 pm

    The “never say die” attitude of the Reds team was truly admirable. Despite being out-passed and out-scored in the early part of the game, Reds kept plugging away until they nearly leveled things after coming back to 13-12. Mark C. had another storming game, with several left-footed thunderbolts (It didn’t help that Tomas had 4 assists for Reds, but that’s another story altogether).

    In addition to Mark’s observation above, the other determining factor was the movement and passing of the Shanty Town Blacks and their use of the entire width of the pitch to spread play. Poverty-striken Blacks also let the ball do most of the work, which compensated for the laughable fitness levels of Tomas and Yamai. Speaking of which, I don’t know whether I imagined this, but I thought I saw George actually smoke a cigarette in the middle of the game.

    Kudos must also go to Clive for maintaining a disciplined team shape – both with and without the ball. His post-match comments were worth staying for (you had to be there, though).

  8. Kevin
    Wed 12 November 2008 at 11:34 am

    I enjoyed the run-out. Thanks for the game guys and the very novel match report.

  9. rajiv
    Wed 19 November 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Santi by a landslide.

  1. Tue 2 December 2008 at 10:00 am
  2. Sun 22 February 2009 at 3:24 pm

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