Some weeks ago, JazzdaGama received an email from Maria Veronica Cabeza, a journalist and artist living in Buenos Aires. Miss Cabeza is a very courageous single mother and a regular contributor to these pages. Like many women we know Miss Cabeza has been at the receiving end of discrimination because of her gender and cultural heritage. Worse still, her story also includes being at the receiving end of physical and emotional abuse.
But her courage is mostly about raising a wonderful boy, her son Santiago, who lives the tremendous psychological pain resulting from the abandonment of his father. It was his birthday in August (2017) and apparently he had expressed a desire to spend it, with a few friends, at a practice session with Los Pumas, the Argentine National Rugby team. Daniel Hourcade, the team’s manager made this possible and Santiago and his friends enjoyed a memorable day. As always, Miss Cabeza made it a matter of the heart:
“Dear Daniel Hourcade and Los Pumas,
It is said that the writers overcome the fear of the blank sheet and that, from time to time, that threat appears again. I do not have that feeling; I do believe that in certain moments, like the birthday of my son Santiago yesterday, words are not necessary.
My son had this dream of celebrating his birthday with Los Pumas. He wanted to have some friends with him too; and this was a great challenge as a mom and as a writer. I knew that I had just one shot. So I wrote to you.
And on August 22 (last year) with your help as the Puma’s coach, Daniel Hourcade, and the help of your staff, my son Santiago Lopez Cabeza and his friends “saw the sun” from up close. He felt the warmth of those who have the grace of giving.
The kids enjoyed the whole practice session, talked about doing some of the tricks at their own rugby club, Alumni and, finally, stretched their arms as far as they could just to touch the ball which was resting at the other side of the fence. Their hands held not only the ball but also the smell of their heroes and they will hold this dear for the rest of their lives.
The years will pass; life, suns and moons will pass too but the unforgettable gesture of love and humility of relative strangers will remain in the memory of these children forever. So, to say “thank you” is, somehow, simply not enough…”
“Yes, I honour Los Pumas and their impeccable coach Daniel Hourcade for what they did for my son. But I think that it is also because in everyone there is the power to love someone you don’t know – especially a child you don’t know. So: Here’s to Daniel Hourcade and Los Pumas: all the guts, all the love, strength and humility, on and off of the pitch!”