Erin & I talked before the game, and decided we needed a good welcome home for our favorite Sporting Catracho, who had done SKC and Honduras so very proud during the Olympics. So I brought my Honduras flag. We waved it like mad whenever we got a chance during the game, but we knew the chances of Roger seeing it were slim.
It was after the game, when the team did a victory lap of the stadium, and Roger stopped to salute the Cauldron, that he spotted it. I was peeking under the edge when I saw him take notice, and he started gesturing for us to come down from the stands. With pushing and prodding from the guys behind us, we stumbled through the crowd to the barrier. Roger took the flag, promising to bring it back (did I really care? I can get another!) and handed his jersey to me (WHAT?!). Erin had the composure to ask for a picture, and Cauldronites on the front row gladly took pics with our cameras simultaneously, so Roger could move on. I held it together, but tears were threatening. It’s hard to really express why that touched me…
I think I’ve had a special appreciation for Roger since my first Wizards game, when I saw a tailgate of Honduras jerseys with his name on them. Having a Honduras Seleccion player in KC is just a special tie for me to my adopted country. And I appreciate him as a player. His tenacity, his absolute lack of inhibition (but not lack of control) is a joy to watch on the field. Sure, he sometimes crosses the line & gets in trouble (Red Card Roger), but it’s not out of malice or underhandedness. He’s just out to serve his team, as best he can.
And this Olympic games, I finally got to see him do that not only for SKC, but for his home country as well. You can just SEE him pouring out everything he has on the field. And in that last game against Brazil, the whole world finally saw what makes him special. Some SKC fans were being really petty about him being away for the Olympics. Like it was such a huge inconvenience. To me, it just made me swell with pride to see a player from my club being such a cornerstone for his country. A country that I also love.
I was sad when Honduras’s Olympic journey came to an end, but my sadness was tempered by excitement in knowing that Roger might make it back for the US Open Cup Final. So I truly wanted to convey at least a bit of how I felt to Mr. Espinoza himself. I tried to come up with clever poster ideas. But in the end, I took the Honduran flag. When I held that flag up, what I was trying to say was “I’m proud of you, Roger, I’m proud of Honduras. Honduras is proud of you. Remember what it was like to represent your country in the Olympics.”
I don’t know which of those messages Roger heard, but he obviously heard something. Because when I saw his eyes land on that flag, I could tell it meant something to him. Mission accomplished.
Getting to interact with him just briefly was awesome. Getting a jersey to remember it by was also awesome. But sharing that flag… that will stick with me for a long time.
- Olympics 2012: Honduras’ historic win over Spain has distinct MLS flavor (aol.sportingnews.com)