There are no words you can give you perspective about when you lose a colleague. It gives you perspective on how blessed one is to actually be working in this “calling”. When Argentine journalist Jorge “Topo” López passed away this past week, one reflects and one realizes. López, like many other people (myself included) in Belo Horizonte, passed through the bridge that collapsed last week.
He passed that bridge minutes before it collapsed. But his fate was elsewhere. Days later in São Paulo, López would be sideswiped in an intersection by a car that was used by thieves to get away from police. The 38-year-old journalist died instantly that morning and was a huge blow for many Argentine colleagues. This was just a few days after María Soledad Fernández died in a car crash in a trip from São Paulo to Belo Horizonte after she finished watching Argentina play at Arena Corinthians.
Those were tough blows, but there are some that hit home a little harder. There are also moments that make you appreciate life a little more. The reason being is that when you know a person that you “grew up with” professionally and he suddenly dies, it makes you stop and think more about what they left behind. In the case of Armando García, it was a tough one to swallow. He was a trendsetter in this country. He was one of those people whose passion involved covering leagues outside of Major League Soccer or the Premier League. Sometimes he argued against the current, and to him it was pleasurable.
His projects like Forza Futbol and The Ball Is Flat websites and podcasts that he ran with his friends made you believe that soccer in this country had hope and was heading in the right direction. This sentiment was believed even when MLS was not undergoing the explosion that we have seen in the past few years. The difference was that Mando did not do it waving pom poms and rooting senselessly like many did here.
Mando didn’t do it with bias, although many times he did show his Periquito spirit; sometimes with a jocular, other times… not so much. Yet throughout his time as the leader of Forza Futbol and the founder of the Espanyol USA Supporters Group, he showed vision and passion for the game, his colors and family (his real one as well as his futbol one).