Monday, January 21, 2008
The great legend of Chava Reyes lives on
Martha Guerra, ESPNdeportes.com
MEXICO -- It was only a couple of seconds, the time needed to touch the ball a couple of times, and Chava Reyes had made history.
There is not a more successful and complete team in Mexican football history than the Chivas Campeonisimo of 1957, nor a more glorious player as Chava Reyes. Because even as his era sounds ages away to the new generations, and even if we didn't get the chance to see him play, we all know who Chava is.
Focused and devoted to the moment he was about to live, Reyes came out of the dressing room with the 1957 uniform, the one Chivas wore for this unique, special occasion. Goalkeeper Michel was also given a special shirt by another big name from Guadalajara, his antecessor under the posts, Nacho Calderon. And just as in that legendary afternoon when he scored the goal that gave his team its first title ever, Chava left the field under the cheers of the public and achieving recognition of a whole country. "It was while I was alive", he said in a low voice, and then repeated, this time loudly: "It was while I was alive!" And in those words we could see all the suppressed emotion. He walked to take his place in the bench, and the energy and motivation he left in his short trip to the field in Jalisco was enough for his teammates, who played a convincing match against the Pumas, the same who not so long ago played the tournament's final, but who seemed to lose concentration against Salvador Reyes' greatness. It might be a coincidence, but the truth is that the champion's trail seemed to extend against the Chivas, who opened the match in historic form, with a 3-0 thrashing. The match also extended a negative record of 26 years for the Pumas without victories against Chivas in the Jalisco stadium. But above all, the match showed a different side of Mexican football that will forever stay in our memory: The face of the man who, 71 years old and with 122 goals, stands as the most representative player of all times. The special Chivas tribute was well received by the rest of the Mexican football family. Without a doubt, those few seconds will forever mark the opening of the tournament, on January 19th, when a whole country worshiped the legend of Chava Reyes.