pause time

One of the most extraordinary experiences in Argentine soccer occurs when the visiting team scores a goal. Since, for years and years, only local fans have gone to the field, when the visiting team scores a goal, the silence of the stadium is heard. Null noise becomes deafening. Thousands of people remain silent and, even in stadiums with good acoustics, the visiting players, the substitute bench, and radio and television reporters can even hear the goal cries. Nothing more, or a little more (some time ago, from my position on the Boca field, I heard Izquierdoz’s reproach to his teammates perfectly, after having conceded a goal).

But sometimes, very occasionally, another type of silence occurs, which could embody what the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze called “image-time”. That is, an action that, as it passes, carries with it temporality. One sees the passing of time or, in this case, the stopping of time and noise: quiet time, dead noise. What I’m talking about? It is that I am not speaking, or, rather, I am giving the floor to Dibu Martínez. In recent statements, Martínez returned to his save against Kolo Muani in the World Cup final: “At that moment when he went hand in hand with the Frenchman, the stadium, which had 80% Argentines, fell silent for two seconds, and it was awesome. It seemed like everyone went on pause.” Again: quiet time, dead noise. The world on pause. We generally praise soccer teams and their players for their ability to accelerate, to change pace, to make transitions in seconds (a word so fashionable in sports journalism that I find it unbearable). Well, the unique art of Martínez consisted of the opposite: not to speed up, but to slow down, not to change rhythm, but to pause time, not to make any transition, but to stop time for “two seconds”. After that, everything went back to normal: after the save, Argentina busts it to either side, but by chance the ball comes out very well played and a counterattack flower emerges that ends in a cross from behind that could have ended in a goal if Lautaro Martínez hit the header on goal, and did not throw it out four meters, as during almost the entire World Cup. In passing, let’s remember that in his story, Víctor Hugo immediately defines it as “one of the greatest saves in the history of football” (while the poor TV announcer barely managed to say “he shot… -without giving the name from the French – the goalkeeper covered…. That was all. What a difference between Victor Hugo and the others).

We’ve never been on the beach and for a minute everything goes silent? Magically, suddenly, no voice is heard, a crying child, an ice cream vendor, only the noise of the waves crashing on the sand. And the next moment, everything redirects its way. When that happens in a stadium with tens of miles of people silenced at the same time, we can’t help but be moved. It is a moment of extreme drama, an act of recognition in the midst of chaos.

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