On Saturday March 31, 2019, 32 people from the Ohio Valley / Wheeling area had one of those days. We traveled 18 hours and 4,926 miles from Washington D.C. to Cordoba, Argentina to get to that day. After a short night’s rest we jumped on the charter bus and headed to the Argentinian version of an Oglebay Park shelter.
A place where you can rent out a covered hall stocked full of local beer and barbecue and surrounded by fenced-in soccer fields and a basketball court. There, two cultures from different hemispheres connected with the help of good food, good beer and good people. All the while 32 teenage boys from different worlds connected, collided and created lifelong friendships on the soccer field. The six-hour “fiesta” broke the American-culture of personal space and resulted in new-found friends hugging and kissing goodbye, thus ending a day for the ages.
However, according to Diego Gattesco the day had just begun. His brother is a former player for the “Pittsburgh Steelers” of Cordoba, (population 1.5 million), Club Atletico Talleres (pronounced Tie-Jay-res). Saturday night found CAT playing their Buenos Aires rival River Plate. This would bring 18,000 rowdy River fans to the packed 60,000 capacity home stadium named Mario Alberto Kempes. Diego’s brother helped arrange an unreal experience for our boys to witness the game in a very unique way. We began the evening welcoming the team off the bus in an exclusive entry to the stadium.
Our boys were then greeted by the coaching staff and official CAT team in front of distinguished guests and media. It was in this intimate and electric setting where we proudly presented the team’s owner, players and staff with the official City of Wheeling flag (which ironically, has the same colors of the CAT flag).
Finally, we entered the stadium to witness a once in a lifetime spectacle.
Talleres lost 0-2 to the more skilled River Plate and yet on this stage, in this foreign and mystical land what will never be lost is this day.
“The BBQ is so much better in Argentina” – Max Seibert.
“The (Talleres) game was absolutely insane, there were no rules for the fans, especially that guy in the orange shirt” – Lorenzo Donzella.
“Orange-shirt guy was super funny” – Conner Fitzpatrick.
“Loved the food at the BBQ” – Mikey Blanton.
“The Argentina hosts are nicer than most Americans it seems” – Lorenzo Donzella.
“This was the best day of my life” – Camden Kulpa
This series is sponsored by the generous support of Stratford Springs Family Restaurant.