Soccer is always the perfect reason to get together for Calgary’s Mexican community, and nothing exemplifies community like the World Cup.
Miguel Cortines has made it his job to promote Mexican culture in Calgary, as he is the president of Casa Mexico, an award-winning foundation designed to showcase Mexican art and culture in Calgary.
However, when it’s World Cup season, everything takes a back seat.
“It’s a passion in Mexico and the World Cup has always been a very, very important event,” said Cortines. “It’s an opportunity to be excited and to bring your spirit out.”
Cortines says that the plans are to watch the national team at Schanks Sports Grill in the southwest, just like they did for the last tournament four years ago.
“Watching the game with the community is another experience, and we’re trying to promote this sentiment,” he said.
This year’s edition of the World Cup is extra special to Cortines and many other immigrants, whose allegiances will be split between their home country and their birth country.
“We moved here 20 years ago and I see how the sport has been growing, more people are playing here in Canada and It’s a very good experience.”
Mexico tied their first game Tuesday against Poland but Cortines is as confident as any fan can get. He says he knows “for sure” that Mexico and favourites Argentina will qualify from their groups, however what happens next is anyone’s guess.
“It’s a historic thing because Mexico always pass the first round, sometimes the second round, but in the most important part we don’t qualify,” said Cortines. “It always has been the same story.”
However, at the end of the day, the social aspect of the game is always most important.
“It’s very intense when you are watching the games and you have the hope that you are going to pass to something more important and more relevant but at least you have the experience of watching the game,” said Cortines. “It’s important to be connected and enjoy community.”