Six weeks ago, Madridistas were celebrating a Clásico victory. The following weekend brought a disappointing loss at Real Betis. Euphoria was replaced quickly by anger. However, these emotions were commonplace because our world revolved around the certainty of present-day life.
Tragically, it seems as if those games were played a lifetime ago. They are now a highlight archive on YouTube.
”Life without Real Madrid is gut-wrenching.” says Rodolfo Herrera, Chairman of Peña Madridista Charlotte (@pena_nc). On March 26 at 8:00 a.m. local time, a stay-at-home order was issued by the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Rodolfo and his members’ worlds were turned upside down.
Herrera continues, “Before the crisis, we used to gather to watch every Real Madrid game to support the team and also engaged the Members in activities to benefit our community.” Now the game has changed. Instead of preparing for viewing parties, members have turned their attention to adjusting their personal routines. From kids being home-schooled to work being done remotely, life in Charlotte has gone interior.
Even though the Peña is not gathering physically, members stay in contact. “We communicate through a members-only chat group, social media, and our newsletter,” Herrera says. “The Peña is monitoring the situation of every member in case they need any kind of assistance.”
One ray of light in this period of darkness is the Peña’s desire to help the local community. Herrera declared, “We are planning to start a program to collect nonperishable foods to donate.” This is a mirror reflection of the exercise of Real Madrid core values, which their sister Real Madrid Houston Peña is also doing in the great state of Texas.
20 days have passed since Charlotteans were sent home. Despite the talk from local and federal leaders, a date or specific plan to lift the Order is not determined yet. In the meantime, Rodolfo Herrera offers this advice to Madridistas in North Carolina: “Stay strong. We need to follow the indications from authorities to control the spread of Coronavirus. Soon we will overcome it. Stay healthy and we can all enjoy a nice get-together as soon as all this is over. ¡Hala Madrid!”
Truer words have never been spoken. As of Wednesday, Johns Hopkins University reports 5,178 cases and 120 perished souls in North Carolina. Life with Real Madrid will return. The major difference will be everyone’s appreciation of life.
Save lives. Stay home. Hala Madrid y nada más!
Christian Paredes (@Xian_D_Paredes) is a Founding Member and former Chairman (2012-2016) of La Peña Madridista Sur de California (@RmSurCalifornia)