Madridistas, April has arrived.
At this point, Western Europe and America are in spring mode. There should be eight games left to decide La Liga. We should be discussing Real Madrid’s next league opponent, Mallorca. The Champions League quarterfinals would also be on our minds as they should be right around the corner.
Tragically, this is not the reality. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has hijacked the world’s way of life in a manner not seen or experienced in over 100 years. In rapid domino fashion, sports, concerts, schools, restaurants, movies, retail, and freedom to move came to a screeching halt.
Towards the end of last month, millions of Madridistas have seen one announcement after another of restrictive orders by local and federal government officials to stay at home. You probably asked yourself, “What’s going on? Why is this happening?” Trust me, you’re not the only one.
While there is no Real Madrid to watch and cheer for for the time being, American Peñas are adjusting to a home life. Our first stop takes us to the Lone Star State of Texas and its metropolis Houston.
Eddie Mendoza, Chairman of Real Madrid Houston Peña, spent an overwhelming majority of life outside prior to the outbreak. From physically checking projects, attending networking events, exercising at the gym, and leading Peña parties, home was only the sanctuary to sleep and re-charge his batteries.
”Houston is currently in a stay at home lock down mode since Wednesday March 25.” Mendoza says. “Only essential critical infrastructure workers: IT, transportation, government, energy etc. are allowed out.” Since his work does not fall into these categories, Eddie had to move all operations to home, which was no piece of cake.
Even though Eddie still gets to run twice a week around his neighbourhood, he is doing his part to social distance. “I try to stay at home as much as possible and only go outside to get groceries.”
King’s Court, which is the Peña headquarters, was hit hard when Champions League knockout games, the March Madness tournament, the beginning of baseball season, and NBA season were cancelled or suspended. While restaurants are now closed to dine-in patrons by city order, take-out is the only ticket for local eateries to stay afloat.
In an effort to support the community, Real Madrid Houston Peña is rolling up its sleeves to support their home base. Members are taking turns to order take-out. “We are here for them in this tough time. Together we will make it!” says Mendoza.
Within the Membership, the Peña has become a closer-knit support group during this unprecedented time. On the group text chat, it came to light that Member Vanessa Larin owns a restaurant called La Pupusa Loca. Similar to King’s Court, La Pupusa Loca is having their take-out promoted and utilized by the Peña.
Another Member who is enormously affected by the crisis is from the entertainment industry. Anderson Piñeros is a disc jockey who had several weddings and shows postponed. Once again, Real Madrid Houston Peña came to the rescue. “He did a Facebook live set to keep all of us entertained.” Mendoza says of the performance. “It was amazing. This is his full-time gig so we try to support him as much as we can.”
Even though Real Madrid Houston Peña is extending its arm to care for the community, Coronavirus is spreading. As of April 1, Houston reports 1,267 confirmed cases with 13 deaths and 118 recoveries. These statistics are only a brutal snapshot. The nation’s top experts sadly predict the numbers to continue to rise all across the country.
No one really knows when this pandemic will end. However, Real Madrid Houston Peña is exhibiting the Club values of solidarity, teamwork, and sacrifice during the most perilous time in our lives. Mendoza sums it up, “Be strong now, because things will get better. It might be stormy now, but it can’t rain forever.”
May the sun come soon before it is too late. Everyone, please save lives by staying home.
- Christian Paredes (@Xian_D_Paredes) is a Founding Member and former Chairman (2012-2016) of La Peña Madridista Sur de California (@RmSurCalifornia)