Madridistas, the following is a letter dedicated to my dear friend Yatsuney Pérez (@WOSFanatic), Founding Member of Peña Madridista Sur de Florida (@RmSurdeFlorida), who resigned from the Chairmanship due to family obligations on Friday June 14.
At 8:59 p.m. on Thursday June 13, my phone vibrated. When I saw that the message was from you, a smile came across my face. I didn’t read your message yet because I was with a friend from high school at Goal Sports Café in Hollywood watching the Toronto Raptors celebrate their first ever NBA title in Oakland. When I finally read it later that evening, a feeling of sadness and pride began to take over.
I still remember our first phone call back in early 2013. Hearing your enthusiasm and motivation to create a Peña Madridista in Miami was amazing. You were “all in”. I was wrapping up the first season as Chairman of Peña Madridista Sur de California and looked forward to working with you. In your first year, I saw your Peña grow from a modest group to an army rapidly. At your Lisbon Final event I was blown away by the images of elated Socios (Members) and Madridistas in attendance. It was a crowning achievement. Madridismo finally had a home in the 305!
As time passed, our friendship grew in tandem with the working relationship. Since you are Cuban and I have many friends within that community in Miami and LA, we immediately clicked on a personal level. Whether we discussed players, managers, Club politics, Peña business, cantera (farm system) talent, or first team games, those chats were always the best. You became someone in which I could truly confide in the world of Peñismo.
When your Peña began to receive more media attention and an increase in Membership, I was extremely proud to see you stick to your original mission and values. If success can get to your head and it is not handled correctly, arrogance replaces humility. Also, when the rough times came where more time and effort fell on your shoulders, you rose to the challenge. Your passion was your vehicle to excellence.
As I write the next few words, I’m fighting back tears. The mark of a true friend is how the person behaves when someone in their life goes through bad times. Over two years ago when I was living one of the lowest moments of betrayal in my Madridista life, you came to my rescue without hesitation. I will never forget that.
I know it was an extremely difficult decision to let go. I went through the same process in the winter of 2015. These Peñas are like our “babies”. However, you will never be forgotten. The Peña is your legacy and will always be your creation. People at the Club, fellow Peñas, and your Socios (Members) will always remember you as the one who realized the dream to allow Madridismo to flourish in Miami. You did a phenomenal job!
You are one of the best Madridistas to ever walk this planet. Rest assured that your Peña is in great hands moving forward. From the bottom of my heart, congratulations on being a Founding Father of American Madridismo, but more importantly, thank you so much for being such an amazing friend. I wish only the best for you and your family. Long live Peña Madridista Sur de Florida, Happy Father’s Day, Hala Madrid y nada más!