“Sometimes you have to let others tell their story about you...even if most of it is fabricated. Your character will tell your side without any words spoken. Do your best to vibrate high even in the midst of a shit storm”.
- Sanjo Jendayi
Charles Darwin said "It is not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one that best responds to change". But how to survive when variations are sudden and unexpected? Especially today, the birth of the post Covid-19 generation, we constantly look for answers, living in a period of great transformations. In order to survive, we no longer have a choice and need to reinvent ourselves.
Easily said, doing so is truly difficult. It means putting aside who we have been and facing radical changes. Along the way we also have to overcome fear, rethink ideas, concepts, change our objectives, renew or change structures, transform our behavior.
Sounds like the second semester of las Chivas Rayadas. A Guadalajara which has had to re-invent itself a number of times in a very short time frame. A Chivas 2.0. The first blow came just 4 weeks into the season. Trodding along the unsure ground lain by the Covid pandemic, a game of cat and mouse, wondering what the future has in store for the Red and Whites. Changes in match protocols, health protocol, social protocols. The danger of falling into the clutches of the aggressive virus ever present.
The whirlwind of ups and downs made much worse by less than acceptable Guard1anes 2020 league start. The poor harvest of points and goals in the first 3 matches forced a change in Athletic Direction headed by Ricardo Pelaez and backed up by Amaury Vergara brought a much expected and much awaited move. In stepped an incumbent Victor Manuel Vucetich and Co. The Midas King, Forger of Champions. His hand was felt within the week.
The locker room felt the first shock. The boys would become more disciplined. More focused. Those that conformed to the changes would remain, those that chose not to would remain by the side of the road, apparently weakening the embattled Rebaño. But these blows would serve to the contrary, creating a battle hardened, Band of Hermanos.
Under the leadership of Vucetich, Chivas became a team once again. Forgotten were the failures of the first third of league play. Guadalajara began to win. They began to worry their adversaries. These were a different group of players. Hard eyed. Grim. One of True Grit. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines grit as a firmness of mind or spirit: unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.
‘Vuce’ and his boys managed to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. Managing to qualify seventh, straight into the wild card round, our illusions grew after defeating Necaxa. Chivas were in the playoffs after 4 seasons absent, a victory in itself.
Our spirits soared after knocking out the dreaded rivals, America, in the quarterfinals. Not without controversy, the first leg of the Derby played before a comparatively small small crowd of enthusiastic fans. Another first in Club Deportivo Guadalajara’s incredible history, the first match played with aficionados after a little more than 8 months. Health protocol put to the test against America. Bastaron 3 ‘Chicotazos’ to knock out the cremas. Ni las manos metieron.
On to the semifinal against Leon, the best team of the Guard1anes 2020. Two well played matches, insufficient to make it through to the last leg. Not bad for a team which unexpectedly turned the tables to surprise friend and foe alike. Just for a moment we gave flavor to the game once again. To see the Red and White fighting for a new title brought a spark to the step. A glint to the eye.
On the path of reinvention, 6 months in the making, many a story was told. Some were true, some smoke and mirrors. Now it is quiet. The actions spoke louder.
The unceasing spinning world of Chivas has come to an illusory standstill, the halls of Club Guadalajara are never completely still. After the words have faded away, the solitary shouts of the few witness to the 2020 season, ball boys, players, media, all have drifted into silence. But, if you listen carefully, you can feel an expectant vibration, waiting to explode.