On a humid Saturday afternoon in the presence of 36,535 fans at Sun Life Stadium, Spain beat Haiti two to one, in one of the most anticipated soccer game in recent memory.
Yes, in the 75th minute, defender Wilde-Donald Guerrier impressively weaved his way through Spain’s defense getting the ball across the goal line.
It even compelled Wyclef Jean to tweet this message via Twitter: “#4 Guerrier what a play, pure magic, the stadium is rocking now #Haiti #Haiti #APRILSHOWERS”
But in the end, the reigning world and European champion proved too much for Haiti.
For an outsider looking in, you would have never guessed this was a loss for Haiti’s national team considering Haitian fans’ tremendous level of morale and enthusiasm for their team.
Giving an excellent example of genuine team spirit (unlike some other fans whom I’ll address shortly), Haitian fans turned the second and third levels of Sun Life Stadium into a make shift Carnival—with festive dancing, marching, and playing instruments while chanting, ‘Yo sezi’ (translation: They’re surprised.). And throughout it all, fans continued triumphantly waving the Haitian flag in support of Haiti.
Watching this show of esprit de corps, I was compelled to acknowledge Miami Heat fans love/hate relationship with the team.
In layman’s term, Miami Heat “fans” only support the team when it’s fashionable, i.e., when they win. When they lose, the most die-hard fan can be heard around town—at Starbucks, universities, bars, and the beach—ripping the team to shreds.
Magic City residents could learn a lesson or two in the art of team spirit from Haitian soccer fans.
It isn’t promised under a clause, as in, “I’m a fan of the Haitian National Soccer Team if they win this upcoming game…” it’s given whole-heartedly and unconditionally.
Case-in-point Haitians even chanted, “Let’s go Heat!” throughout their celebratory party.
With high stakes and a guest list that included Haiti's President Michel Martelly and Dwayne Wade, Haitian fans were honored that Haiti was playing against an internationally respected and top ranked team like Spain.
This game represented a level of accomplishment for the Caribbean country whose history of becoming the first Black republic to emancipate itself from slavery is constantly being overshadowed by natural disasters and poor leadership.
Haitian fans truly understand the meaning of team spirit.
Exactly how long it’ll take for Miami Heat fans to borrow a page from Haitian soccer fans, only time will tell, but the next championship game is this Wednesday in San Antonio.