28 June 2007

Los Gringos

Over at Off Wing Opinion, Eric McErlain had an interesting, and perhaps telling, post Gold-Cup screen capture. While he draws a parallel to the Houston 1836-Houston Dynamo situation when wondering about whether to take offense, I find the notion that he advances of reclaiming the word "Gringo" quite appealing. Putting aside the potential pejorative connotations (and, before I get people saying "there's never any negative connotation" to the word, just listen to how it is pronounced occasionally. Some people can make the word "respect" a racial epithet), the word on a simply interpretive level is reserved for foreigners, not even necessarily Yanks. It's not that the word is offensive, it's that even in the most benign usage, the word is being incorrectly used given that the USA was playing on home soil. Or is it?

There is a somewhat romantic notion to the idea of the USA Team always being the Gringos, of being foreigners even in our own country. While we trumpet how far soccer has come in the United States, the Gold Cup final saw US fans easily outnumbered. I do not put the blame for this on CONCACAF, USSF, the organizing committee, or the people of Chicago. It is simply a fact that the US supporters may have the individual pound-for-pound passion, there are simply more fans of Mexico in most urban areas than the United States. What's more, don't expect the USA to have majority US fans in any of the top 10 population centers in the next decade. It's not happening.

For years we've always hoped that we'll have majority US crowds at international matches, and sometimes we come pretty close. Still, I can't remember a match in a major city with our southern neighbors where the USA had about 80% support. And we should accept that, and move on. The US team, and the US fans, are los gringos no matter where we play. We are modern gypsies, traveling from town to town, never totally accepted. It's a romantic notion. I've never like the "Stars-and-stripes" for the US team nickname. In soccer, stars are earned for championships and we don't have a World Cup under our belt that I've noticed. But embracing Los Gringos? Yes, I can get behind that. If we are not at home when we are home, then the rest of the world should be our home as well. It's still an unreached ideal, but one I find intriguing.

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At 28 June, 2007 11:49, Blogger QJA said...

I concur. The Yanks have always been los gringos in my book -- but technically I don't think it'll work, what with Beasley and Clark and EJ not being gringos and all.

At 28 June, 2007 11:59, Blogger D said...

QJA: Technically, my understanding is that gringos has nothing to do with skin color, and everything to do with country of origin. Foreigners can all be considered gringos.

At 28 June, 2007 13:19, Blogger Z. Jackson said...

This is fantastic. From here on out, I will be referring to our Yanks as "Los Gringos."

At 28 June, 2007 14:08, Blogger The Manly Ferry said...

For what it's worth, I'm partial to "Yanquis" or, when I'm feeling fanciful, "Running Dog Capitalists." On the site, though, I stick with Yanquis.

Still, I'm amenable to Gringos...

At 28 June, 2007 16:03, Blogger tucksider said...

as a baseball fan, i can hardly stand to pronounce the word "Yanquis" without adding "suck!" to it.

i like Gringos.

At 28 June, 2007 16:15, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good call. I think it should be The Gringos, though, not Los Gringos. Not English, not Spanish, but both, neither, an Americanization or hybrid of something foreign.

And I hope our Gringo b-teamers shock the world tonight, and our Gringas bring back some gold from China, and our Gringitos bring home some hardware from Canada.

Viva the Gringos!

At 28 June, 2007 16:55, Blogger QJA said...

Gringitos, rofl.

Los Gringos it is.

At 28 June, 2007 21:18, Blogger Charles said...

I remember having a discussion on another blog in advance of the world cup as to what the nickname for the US should be, and I advocated 'Los Gringos.' It works on so many levels and who wouldn't love to see the headline: "Los Gringos defeat El Tri" or "Gringos defeat Ticos". I think it's in the CONCACAF spirit.
Plus it can be adapted for the other US national teams. The women's national team can be "Las Gringas" and the U-20s could be "Los pocos Gringos."
The sky is the limit for "Los Gringos."


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