My wife and I had the pleasure of watching our friends' son play American football this past Sunday at the Calica fields in Playa del Carmen. Having lived and played futbol (soccer) in this futbol crazed country,it came as a surprise to see how big American football has become. I guess it helps that Mexico's northern neighbor invented the sport.
This past weekend was really a microcosm of what living here is all about. Long story short: A youth football coach from the Riviera Maya and a youth football coach from Colorado met 5 years ago while on a fishing trip and decided to seek some international experience for their respective teams.
For the past 4 years now,youth teams from Colorado and Kansas have been invited to the Riviera Maya to play the youth teams from Playa del Carmen,Mexico City,and Cancun. Cancun has 5 U-12 football teams,which speaks volumes about its explosive popularity in this part of Mexico,due to the high number of expats that call Cancun and Riviera Maya real estate home.
One of the coolest,but not surprising things about this tournament is that all the teams stay together at a local resort. The parents and players from Cancun,Kansas,Mexico City,Playa del Carmen,and Colorado all spent 3 nights and 4 days of football,fun,friends,and family together. Our friends who live 10 minutes from the resort asked us to dog sit. Even they stayed at the resort to enjoy the connection these teams all have and continue to cultivate. These football games are not an annual occurrence but a bi-annual event as the boys and their families from the Riviera Maya will head to Colorado in the spring to get a taste of the US. The football,parties,language barriers,and friendships will continue on up north.
After the Playa del Carmen team beat the Colorado team today,the parents and their families from Colorado crossed the field to shake hands,hug and take photos together while congratulating the boys…our home team of Playa del Carmen won 14-0 against Colorado.
Again,2 football coaches making a connection on a fishing trip have brought hundreds of people together to enjoy football and more importantly each other and their families. My wife and I were happy to see it first hand and to share it with you.