Farewell Maradona! "Argentina mourns for three days a fallen soccer legend"
While he may have said comments that offended many, associated himself with awful and less than examplary leaders (and he himself more than once behaved inadequately).
No one can deny that there was never anyone who played soccer like Maradona (and chances are there will never be).
Growing up in Buenos Aires Argentina, Diego (Maradona) was to all like a semi God.
He gifted Argentinians so much joy and made everything feel magical when he entered "LA cancha"( the stadium).
Yes, Maradona, in his glory days, was our pride and joy.
He played soccer like no other and that's something quite special for the Argentinian people.
Sadly, later in his life, he spiraled down struggling with drugs, scandals, controversy, endless accusations.
Lots of darkness surrounds this unparalleled soccer legend.
At this point, I'd like to remember him in his golden years before everything crumbled.
Maradona reminds every Argentinian of moments with people we loved, colors and sounds of our past and our childhood.
Diego made us feel as if anything was possible.
We screamed with joy his goals and cried emotional tears every World cup.
We were literally transported to where he was and he proudly took us on his shoulders as he navigated his journey through soccer history.
It is so that one must acknowledge him, and if not Maradona, then what he meant to soccer and to Argentina.
Argentina has a long love affair with soccer.
More than a sport, it is a second religion (and for many the first and only).
Argentina is a country with a dark painful history.
Soccer was the uniting force that enabled people to forget their daily struggles and get lost in the joyful moments of the games.
Soccer was that necessary life line and the uniting passion that made everyone believe we could still be great, beat the odds.
Once the Argentinean selection entered a stadium anything was possible.
Maradona reminds me of the world cups when I was a child. My dad, my uncle and the rest of my cousins came to see Argentina play in our living room.
The message was received, in my first year in college at University Buenos Aires I made sure to watch the game on my own, once I knew I wouldn't make it to the family game.
The ending score of the game determined whether we would continue watching the next game in the same location or scientifically pick a different one.
Argentina dreamed with Diego and Diego delivered.
It is so that Argentina mourns Maradona as he reminds everyone of a glorious soccer past.
One when the English could take the Malvinas (Folklands) but in a soccer match David could beat Goliath, and that they did.
(My apologies to all my English friends. Love you and truly mean no disrespect, yet this is a true fact).
There is so much pain and need for healing surrounding the Falkland's war.Soccer was an outlet for some of that pain too.
As for a personal note, I have my own Maradona story.
In the 80s, my dad was good friends with his mechanic.
My dad was a car lover and just like every Argentinian a die hard soccer fan.
My dad's mechanic was a wonderful man who happened to be Maradona' brother in law to be.
Long story short, my dad was invited to his wedding which included Maradona and his wife as guests of the family.
My dad and my mom attended the wedding and they were quite excited to be able to meet Maradona.
My dad got to shake Diego Maradona's hand and got us, his kids, autographs.
He also got my cousin Ioni the largest of the three autographs in honor of his Bar Mitzvah.
A detail that made me and my sister quite jealous at the time.
For so many years, we treasured the autographs and today I asked my mom to send me the picture as I wanted to share it as part of this farewell.
Here is Maradona's autograph. I share it with my brother Dan, who was at the time only a baby.
I still remember when my dad brought this picture home.
I was a young little girl, yet surely I knew then like I know now, that this autograph was something special, an item to be treasured.
Just like the memories that Diego gave his people.
Dispite all of his mistakes, Maradona was a shining soccer star who gifted smiles to all his fans around the world.
Rest in peace Maradona.