McAllen is too south to be American and too north to be Mexican. McAllen is located at the southern tip of Texas. Mexico’s cultural influence stretches beyond the Rio Grande River and flourishes in McAllen. Walk into any gas station and chances are that the cashier will talk to you in Spanish. I am an American not a Mexican. I was born in the United States and so were my parents. I am a Chicano, which is someone of Mexican decent and born in the U.S. I was born and raised in McAllen and the hybrid of American and Mexican cultures was the social norm to me. The 2014 FIFA World Cup embodied what McAllen really is.
For the 2014 FIFA World Cup McAllen designated the Convention Center as a “FIFA Fan Zone,” that broadcasted all the World Cup games. It was very impressive, a gigantic twelve by thirty-two foot screen with high definition picture and concert size speakers. Surrounded by a grass sitting area outlined with bleachers. My friends and I decide to watch the United States game. The crowd is mildly excited. Some red white and blue scattered among the fans. Everyone seems content like one massive picnic. Plenty of seating area but we decided to hang in the back by the bleachers. There was a little crowd excitement with the score of two U.S. goals. But Portugal’s late game heroics lead to a tie. There’s a feeling of dissatisfaction but hey, we’ll get them next time. The US was a warm-up game compared to Mexico’s game the following week.
Herds of green, white, and red swarmed the park. Flags, streamers, national anthems, face paints, you name it and it was there. This made the U.S. game seem like child’s play. At halftime Tejano music was blasting as sponsors were giving away Mexican soccer balls. Mexican soccer, or futbol, is full of excitement, passion, and love for the game. So much excitement and love for Mexico and soccer. It was one massive party or as we say in McAllen uña peda.