In remembrance of the lives lost this past week in the plane crash that rocked the footballing world, Brazilian Nationals David Luiz and Willian displayed arm bands bearing "Forca Chape" after Chelsea went ahead in their heated match against fellow league leaders Manchester City, in dedication of their nation's biggest little club.
Chapecoense, who have been called the Leicester City of Brazil, were on a glory run and heading to the final of the Copa Sudamericana to face Atletico Nacional, when their commercial plane went down outside of Medellin, Colombia at about 10:15 pm, Monday November 28. 19 players were killed, alongside staff and a team of journalists.
Not only does the Chelsea memoriam resound as a moment of national solidarity, but it is representative of the higher values of the world of football -- men and women from many different nations coming together on a pitch where the ball breaks language barriers, Brexit isolationism, and international tensions.
After the game, David Luiz told Sky Sports, "I want to dedicate this win to the people who died in Brazil. It was difficult to get my head together as I had some friends there. We just need to pray for the victim's families."
Amidst a scourge of Brazilian players who are divided about returning to play after this tragedy, Luiz' condolences are a reminder that the game must go on.
And on it went, into the 90th minute where a horror-tackle from Sergio Aguero and an ensuing throat-chop from Fernandinho (also Brazilian) reminded us of lower values in the world of football -- violence, impulse, hooliganism -- yet values nonetheless.
The highs and lows... Who would have it any other way?
Force of Nature
For Chapecoense, November 29, 2016
The hauntingest highlight
the exploded footballs,
the sport logos scarring the rockface,
or even the survivor story of
the unbreakable goalkeeper who was
he and the hundreds who may never
no, it wasn't that,
nor the little stadium,
filled with fans and family,
accepting the forfeited trophy
but rather the shots that went viral
of the players laughing in coach,
#1 fingers pointing to the proud sky,
flying field to field for a game they'd
loved their whole lives,
shouldering with teammates,
jostling for seats,
hazing the rookies,
a world away from the world.
Remember when we slipped Rhett a viagra en route to California;
when Roland boarded high as a kite, or a plane, in this case;
when we passed around Polaroids for team eyes only?
A mid-air dressing room, sealed under the heavens,