Our VoiceHealth & Environment

Midnight Soccer League


Axel Fuentes • Nov 08, 2009

Last summer workers at a Mexican restaurant had a desire to encourage better preventative health care. So they decided to alleviate stress through sports. In their small town in Northern Missouri with approximately 18,000 persons living there, in which approximately 200 are Latino immigrants. Most of them work long hours, up to 13 hours a day, and some of them work all seven days a week in local restaurants in the community. Even so they still have a desire to play soccer.

With the help of the Midwest Immigrant Health Project (MIHP) of the Center for New Community, Feliciano took the leadership to start organizing a soccer league. First, he needed a field with light where we could play late at night. With the help of other folks in the community, we were able to find a baseball field where they would allow us to play. So everyone that was interested in playing, pitched in and we were able obtain the goal posts and also pay for the use of the field. With the big help of Center for New Community we were able to have uniforms. On May we kicked off what’s known as the “The Midnight Soccer League.”

Let me tell you about something that happened a few weeks into Midnight League play. It was our third match. We were playing with about 30 workers over by the road as a car was passing by. The people inside the car leaned out of the window and yelled out “You f**king Mexicans! Go back home!” These words were really offensive and racist. I wonder if any of the persons who yelled these obscene words had ever found themselves eating at any of the local restaurant where the immigrant soccer players work. I asked myself, “Is this the way the ones who feed us should be treated?”

Era el verano recién pasado y con el deseo de promover la salud preventiva y aliviar el estrés  atreves del deporte,  en un pueblo  al Norte de Missouri con aproximadamente 18,000 habitantes de los cuales muy pocos son inmigrantes latinos (200 aprox.) que en su mayoría trabajan largos turnos de trabajo de hasta 13 horas al día,  algunos los 7 días  a la semana  en restaurantes locales, pero  motivados a jugar futbol y con l apoyo del MIHP. Fernando tomo el liderazgo para encontrar un campo iluminado  en donde se nos permitiera jugar  en horas de la noche, con la ayuda de algunas personas en la comunidad, se logro conseguir un campo de baseball, con una colaboración económica de cada uno de los interesados en jugar se pudieron comprar las porterías,  pagar por el uso del campo y con el apoyo de Centro Para Una Comunidad Nueva se obtuvieron   los uniformes y así dar inicio a la Liga de la media noche.  Era el tercer partido  con alrededor 30 trabajadores inmigrantes jugando cuando por la carretera al lado del campo se escucharon provenientes de un  vehículo que pasaba gritos que decían: “Efin Mexicans go back home”   palabras realmente ofensivas mostrando un alto  nivel de Racismo.  Puedo imaginarme que las personas que gritaron esto, alguna vez han estado sentadas en alguno de los restaurantes donde estos inmigrantes trabajan  disfrutando de un delicioso plato de comida. Me pregunto:  es esa la forma de tratar a quien te da de comer?

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