Almost every Friday at FON, we have Jornadas de Fútbol; in other words, we play a nice soccer match between the techies on the ground floor and the finance, legal, and marketing guys on the third floor. Can you say, “East Side” ? Because I had been traveling almost every weekend for the past month or so, this is the first time that I have played in quite a while.
We always play fubito, meaning 6 against 6 on an indoor court about the size of a basketball court with a smaller and heavier than usual ball. Unlike Indoor Soccer in the States where you can use the walls, in fubito you play with the same outdoor soccer rules, and you have throw-ins, corner kicks, etc. when the ball goes out of bounds. Recently, we have been playing outdoors on a really cool fubito court with artificial grass. The problem today was that it was 32 degrees Celsius (or 90 degrees Fahrenheit), and we were slow, pathetically slow. For the first time since the Jornadas began, we on the third floor got our asses kicked (Dorothy from the ground floor scored two amazing golazos).
Now, I am not the kind of guy to be upset about losing or to sulk. I simply like to enjoy the game win or lose, but today I (as well as our regular superstar Berga) played pretty horrendously. No big deal right? Well, there is kind of a small problem, a minor fiasco.
One of my very good friends has been dating a Moroccan girl for years now. They will most likely get married. In Morocco, though, there is no such thing as civil weddings. And if at least one of the two people in a marriage is Moroccan, then they both must be Muslims in order for the marriage to be officially recognized. If the non Muslim doesn’t convert, then there can be a series of legal problems with the Moroccan state not officially recognizing the legitimacy of their children, as well as other limitations.
So the obvious thing to do, out of respect for his girlfriend, her family, culture and for pragmatic reasons, is to convert before they get married. He doesn’t have to actually practice, etc, but it is the correct thing to do. Unlike in Catholicism or Judaism where you need to take courses and have a Bar Mitzvah or have your first communion and be confirmed, Islam makes converting very simple. All you really need to do is to say something like “I witness there is no God except God and that Mohammad is his prophet,” and then take a Muslim name.
When I asked my friend what name he would choose, he said, “Mustafa”. Then, my eyes began to shine, and suddenly I wanted to convert as well. I knew exactly what my name would be . . . have you guessed it yet?
Yes, “Zinedine” ! I think Zinedine would be a horrible name to give to a son, but why shouldn’t I take it? Can you imagine, “Zinedine Napoli”? For the last couple of weeks, I have been rather keen on the whole idea, thinking of little else.
But, after my performance today, there really is now way whatsoever that I could justify either the conversion or the name change. And this is why today’s match was such a tragedy. I barely have the moral strength to flash the FON gang sign and pronounce, “East Side”. I feel more like a “Zinedine Nothing” .
Hopefully, next Friday I can regain my peace of mind.