Did He Mean It? Does It Matter? Partida’s Golazo Lifts Team, City
In the end, Edson Partida confessed. But only after he danced.
His 33rd-minute golazo, a bicycle kick crowned the No. 1 Play of the Day by ESPN’s SportsCenter over a literal world of other goals, a USL Championship Goal of the Week nominee…was a cross that happened to find the back of the net.
Ssh. We won’t tell if you won’t.
For a team desperate for goals, it counts.
In a mis-labeled, mis-understood, mis-represented city desperate for a hit, it counts.
Regardless of his intention, it was a moment of athletic brilliance from Partida, on loan to Locomotive FC from Toluca.
It wasn’t even a textbook bicycle kick. The 21-year-old winger contorted his body and flung his left foot over his head to reach Yuma’s long cross screeching in from the right.
And it went in.
Anyone want an apology for some unintended but magical football? Nah.
El Paso has been everyone else’s political football for 400 years, from Don Juan de Oñate to another Don.
From a former governor saying bombs were blowing up in the city’s streets – a city in his constituency – to falsehoods El Paso’s current mayor felt compelled to dispel only to be called a name, the Borderland has borne the weight of the othering, propagandizing and scapegoating spewed from the most stunted, cobwebbed corners of politics and media.
El Paso has seen enough fallout from bad intentions to last 22 lifetimes. It's happy to take some from the good kind for a change.
So, do your dance, Edson. Tire chancla, and bring El Chuco with you.
Many at the match were there for El Paso Strong Night, as Locomotive FC and the city honored and mourned El Pasoans, Juarenses and others lost in this nation’s first domestic terrorist attack targeting Hispanics.
They were there to applaud the guests of honor, the girls and families of EP Fusion SC, the club team who’s coaches and parents were raising money for equipment and travel outside of the Cielo Vista Walmart on that fateful morning; five of the six members of El Paso's soccer family affected.
Who would want to take anything away from Partida, his teammates and the city in that moment?
Who would want to take away anyone's moment?
This is not to conflate tragedy and sport, thereby cheapening each. In most circumstances, sport is the salve applied to emotional wounds.
Athletic endeavors don’t break the skin, but they often lift the soul.
This one sure did.
Consider the desire to properly honor and respect the fallen that everyone from Locomotive FC's front office to the team to the fans correctly carried into Saturday's match. Then you get handed an "El Paso Strong" flag to fly as you walk through the gate?
It's hard to believe smiles could do any good when there were none.
Then, 33 minutes into the game, there were.
When the only downside is not to try, would that we all fling ourselves at a goal like Edson Partida.