España ha ganado el mundial. In all my years of living in Spain, never has there been a headline so drenched with meaning, history and significance than this simple stating of a basic fact: Spain has won the World Cup.
To say that this feat is loaded with meaning and wonder does not even hint at the depth with which it moved the country. TV ratings claimed that the golden came with the goal when as many as 17 million people in Spain were watching. A record in viewing audience that some found astonishing.
But I say, hogwash. In a country of some 45 million people, they mean to tell us in that in the singlemost important moment in its sporting history, and, to be honest, contemporary history, 60% of population was doing something else? Reading a book. Drinking coffee. Going for a walk. Having sex. Writing a blog. Please. Some may have been, but not 28 million I can assure you.
Well, so much for technical measurement systems. The point is, Spain had done it. It had proved to the world, and more importantly, it proved to itself it could prove to the world, that it could and would live up to its expectations, despite 20% unemployment and struggling credit ratings. It started two years ago in the European Cup tournament and was confirmed this month. A new brash and daring attitude imbued with confidence has taken over the new generations. Had, after all these years of my being here, Spain changed that much?
One of my missions here, but only one mind you, will be to take a look at this new Spain and rediscover what I discovered for the first time nearly twenty years ago.
Now, I have got a flight to Madrid waiting for me down at JFK. I’ll catch later and let you know.