“The entire country went into mourning except for some in Panamas West Indian communities…”
This quote describes the aftermath of National hero Roberto Duran and his infamous “No Mas” surrender to Sugar Ray. Many Panamanians see this moment as the worst thing that ever happened to their country. This moment stings for several reasons however two aspects of the loss stick out the most. The first was that Sugar Ray was a citizen of a country that had exploited Panama for decades in the Panama canal zone in a way that typified the United state’s imperialism during the 20th century. The second reason is the nature of the defeat, a literal surrender by the fighter which had never been seen in a boxing ring before or since which was made even worse by the fact it happened in November, the same month in which the Panama canal zone was originally seized. This also is the EXACT opposite of the Machismo culture which is held in Latin American culture. This connection between sports and politics is important in understanding the passion for sports since they often act as a stage for unofficial wars and the clashing of national/ cultural identities.
“Machismo has always had both negative and positive connotations even in its original embodiment as a masculine archetype for the Hispanic world”
This quote is taken from the section which dissects the concept of Machismo. The Machismo is what gives Latin and South Americans that stereotypical fire that they are often described as having. it does not matter if it is boxing, baseball, or soccer these nations and their athletes are expected to fight hard or even dirty at times if it means getting the win. This expectation is seen as a complement by some since in essence a machismo is supposed to be the embodiment of testosterone and that means playing with aggression and never backing down. However, as the chapter notes, these stereotypes can lead to harmful assumptions. Some of these include the expectation of Latino athletes not being able to control their emotions and lacking discipline/respect for the respective sport.
“As diplomacy over the Panama Canal intensified, Duran’s importance as a mascot for the military regime increased.”
This quote touches on the darker side of sport which often plagues nations in a state of political unrest and chaos. With Panama’s military seeking more support from its people, they turned to Duran who became what many considered a puppet for their agenda. The conversion from a loved celebrity to a political tool is something that has been done to many athletes over the course of history who find themselves in polarized nations and it shows the grip that sports and its athletes have on the people. I think that this section was included to show how the reach and love of sport is something that just like any other valuable resource, can be exploited.