Another kind of football

Santex QA, Bruno Molinari, tells us about his experience playing American football, which isn’t so typical in a Latin American world dominated by soccer, the other futbol.

How did you start playing (American) football?

I started playing about 8 years ago, but I’d already fallen in love with the sport long before that.

When school would get out in November, I’d spend my days at my grandparents’ house. They have cable TV, and in those days you could rarely see football on local channels, so that was great.

A few days after New Years that year, I saw a whole game for the first time. It as the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Denver Broncos with John Elway. It was a great game that was a really close call! So I kept watching the games in the playoffs, all the way through Brett Favre being named champion of the Super Bowl.

I have to admit that in the beginning it was hard for me to understand the rules, but I learned bit by bit thanks to the commentators, videogames, and researching on the internet.

A few years later, when I turned 13, I asked my mom to take me to the U.S. because I wanted to play American football, but that request fell on deaf ears. Despite this setback, I kept watching games on TV.

Fast forward to 2009, a friend of mine came back from a trip and found a group who had started a football association in Córdoba. They had all the proper equipment – helmets, pads. It was incredible to finally have the chance to practice the sport.

Why do you prefer it over other sports?

There are two aspects that I like a lot. One is that it’s a great team sport that involves all the players. Each player has a different task – some block, others run or pass – but all have to work together in order to function as a proper team. For that, you need big, heavy, strong guys as much as you need ones who are fast and agile.

Secondly, and this might sound funny, but it’s like a human chess game. It’s both a physical and mental game in which physical distress is supported by the intellectual capacity of the team as a whole.

For example, when playing offense, the coach will call out three plays, and the quarterback – depending on how the team on defense has taken the field – can decide whether to throw a pass or run a play. The linemen have to know which blocking scheme they’re going to use for each play. The receivers and running backs need to know what to do in each situation, and adjust their movements in correlation with the pressure from the defense team.

It’s an incredible result of preparation, communication, coordination, and collective execution. I think that’s the best thing about the sport.

Do you follow NFL (National Football League) games in the U.S.?

I do. My favorite team is the Indianapolis Colts. I used to have to wait for the cable transmissions to play the game or read reviews online, but since 2008, the NFL has launched a platform for streaming games online, so I can watch them all! It’s a little costly, but worth it.

In 2013 I was lucky to be able to go and see a game live in Arlington, Texas. I saw the Minnesota Vikings play the Dallas Cowboys, and it was awesome! Even though it wasn’t “my” team, I still really enjoyed the experience. I got to see how Americans live the football culture, with tailgating, festivities, and halftime shows.

Have you been able to convince any other friends to try the sport?

To be honest, I’ve never tried! I think I play because I really enjoy it, and that’s what your free time should be used for – the things you enjoy. Some friends I know have gone to see some of our league games, and then end up joining the team, but it’s always their choice.

Arepas ‘con Cariño’

Diego Del Aguila recently joined the Lima Team, and thus far has been impressing everyone with his awesome arepas! Diego once lived in Venezuela, and brought the recipe for this typical dish with him when he moved to Peru. Not quite sure what an arepa is? Let Diego tell you about it.

Tell us what goes into making a GREAT arepa.

Arepas are easy to make. The key ingredients are corn flour (precooked, which is common in Venezuela and Colombia), water, and salt. But what makes arepas great is that you can fill them with different kinds of ingredients, like beef, chicken, cheese, etc. Common combinations in Venezuela include la reina pepiada (avocado, chicken, onion, pepper, mayonnaise), el perico (egg, tomato, onion) and la dominó (black beans and white cheese).

Aside from that, the most important ingredient is the care & love that you put into it.

How long have you been making homemade arepas?

For almost 20 years now, back to when I lived in Venezuela. Sometimes I would be home alone and had to make something for breakfast or dinner, and a good option was always the arepas.

Do you have any fun memories making arepas?

When I first started making arepas on my own, I didn’t know the exact amounts of each ingredient that you needed, so I had bad ratios of flour to water and salt, and my first batches came out very hard, bland, not salty at all or with too much salt! It took a lot of time and practice to achieve the perfect recipe. Years later I realized that the bag of flour includes instructions on how to make them!

Are there other things you like to cook as well?

I love to cook different things. I like making Mexican food, pastas, salads – I make my own lunch almost everyday. Every once in awhile I’ll invite my friends or family over for lunch or dinner. I think it’s a nice gesture to cook and provide food to your loved ones, bringing everyone together around the table, enjoying something you made with your own hands.