On Day 5 of my Cabo spring break I arose as you might expect a college senior to while on spring break in Mexico: dazed, confused, and severely dehydrated. However I am no ordinary college senior.
I ventured out to the Cabo streets to explore, which in hindsight was very dangerous to do by myself, but good stories aren’t cheap. Upon wandering around I saw a full 11v11 soccer game being played on a field that looked as poverty ridden as you could imagine. We’re taking half sand/half gravel and god knows what else. But it was beautiful in my mind, and I had to live out a dream of playing in Mexico.
After 5 minutes of watching and 10 minutes of being told “no jugando el gringo”, meaning the white kid can’t play, I slipped the only kid who spoke a licht of English a $5 bill and took my place between the pipes.
Now I haven’t played a real game of soccer in 4 years since I lost in the District 1 Finals but I was looking to show the Cabo locals, and more importantly the entire country of Mexico that American soccer is still alive and well despite us not making the World Cup, topped with Liga MX’s dominance over the MLS in the CONCACAF Champions League. I couldn’t let legends like Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey down, I had to be big in the net for a whole nation whether they knew it or not.
After easing into the game, I was called upon to make big save after big save and by the end of the match my squad had won, I preserved the shutout. and I stood on my head. “El Tapon Blanco, El Tapon Blanco!”, chanted my team of 15-19 year old kids, calling me the White Stopper. I was on top of the world, the King of Cabo, and if I was a Mexican I’d be in line to be the next national team goalkeeper.
The man Barney Big Saves went from being a “gringo” to being “El Tapon Blanco”, the White Stopper. Do I have infections from the gravel I dove all over? Perhaps. But El Tapon Blanco doesn’t give a damn.