Thursday, November 17, 2016

A football game (American football) was the spark that brought about the Tlatelolco Massacre

Posted by DD Material  from Bleacher Report  Some material republished.  
Photography by Photography by Rodrigo Cruz (except where noted)

American style football may again become as popular or even more popular than soccer in Mexico.  And it may have been the spark that ignited a student movement that led to the Tlatelolco Massacre   Now don't start screaming that I am crazy until you  read the rest of this story. 

When the National Football league (NFL) announced in February of this year that the game between the Houston Texans vs. Oakland Raiders would be played on Nov. 21 in Aztec Stadium in Mexico City, the NFL Commissioner said "“We have a tremendous, passionate fanbase in Mexico.”  It will only be the second regular season NFL game ever played in Mexico.   Fans of "American football" as opposed to "futbol" (soccer) went wild. 

In July the price of the tickets was announced  and the response by Mexican fans was amazing considering the minimum ticket price was $50USD  (925 Mx. pesos) and prices  went up to $326USD (6,050 Mx. pesos). It sold out in a matter of minutes even though fans were limited to 4 tickets each.    Keep in mind the minimum daily wage in Mx. last July was a little under $4.00 US.

The few people that know that American football was at one time the most popular university sport in Mexico probably were not surprised.  


Football came to Mexico in the 1920s, the sport imported from the United States by students returning from American schools. In 1927, two brothers—both fans of Notre Dame—launched the first formal UNAM team.

UNAM in the 1960s was the top public college in Mexico, as it still is. Acceptance was and remains extremely competitive, though those sharp enough to get in pay next to nothing in tuition. Several Mexican presidents attended the school, as have future presidents of Guatemala and Costa Rica. Octavio Paz, the Nobel laureate in literature, is an alumnus, as is Carlos Slim, regularly alternating as either the first- or second-richest person alive. Back then, a few generations after the Mexican Revolution, the country was stable and increasingly prosperous. Many families sent their sons and daughters to college for the first time. Those students who made it into UNAM found themselves at the front of a cultural revolution.

An American expat working for the Ford Motor Company donated helmets and pads. El Irlandes que Lucha didn’t quite work as a nickname, so at first the team went by Los Osos, after the Chicago Bears. Team colors—which became the colors for the whole university—stayed true to South Bend, as did the fight song.

Within a few years, a new coach, looking for a mascot more Mexican, selected a jungle cat that was small like his players, and was known to fight to the death. Pumas grew into a national power. No other team in Mexico—not Monterrey Tech, National Polytechnic (IPN) or anyone else—has won as many championships. 

So dominant was Pumas in Mexico that the school barnstormed around the United States. On New Year’s Day 1945, UNAM became the first foreign school to play in the Sun Bowl, losing to Southwestern by a score of 35-0. (Pumas finished the game with negative-21 yards of offense.)

The rivalry with nearby IPN evolved into El Clasico, Mexico’s biggest game of every year.

 Estadio Olimpico, which opened in 1946 primarily for football, sold out so steadily, for so many years in a row, that officials ordered up Estadio Azteca, capacity 105,000, in large part to meet the demand.   Fans would arrive at the stadium at 10AM for a 4PM kickoff to get a good seat and  just play chess or play dominoes  with each other until the game started.

The sport was an important center of attention. In politics and even in the arts. Mexican stars often came to the fields to watch games. The president of Mexico used to show up to celebrate the first game of the season.”

Robert Andrew Powell, the author of the story in Bleacher Report interviewed Hector Castro on a trip to Mexico to explore the relationship between American football and the Mexican people.

Much of this material in this story is from that investigation. 

In one interview Hector Castro (super fan) tells Powell  "that football was more popular than soccer, Mucho mas! This stadium would be full. They could not fit more people. It was always packed.”

Hector Castro (super fan)
 Castro is 62 years old, a medical doctor and a graduate of the University of Mexico, or UNAM. His college, one of the most prestigious schools in Latin America, has long sponsored Pumas, the best-known and most successful football team in the country. As by reported in Bleacher Report Powell, he  ran into Castro on a warm Saturday in October, when he took in a Pumas game.
Pumas on practice field
                                                **********************

        Goya! Goya!

        Cachun, cachun, RAH! RAH!

        Cachun, cachun, RAH! RAH!

        Goya!

"A chant I recognized from UNAM’s soccer team rang out after every big play, which usually meant every long pass. Turns out the chant, like most of UNAM’s athletic traditions, started with the football team".

“Football was popular with everyone, but it has always been most popular with the students,”  Castro explains to him. “After 1968, that stopped a little.”  (DD; that is an understatement) 

THEN SOMETHING TERRIBLE HAPPENED.  THE TLATELOLCO  MASSACRE




In another interview by Powell with Raul Rivera a former head coach of the Pumas who he led to a national championship Rivera said "“1968 is a very important year for Mexico,”

I notice that when we talk about Pumas and football, much of what we discuss has nothing to do with tackles or running backs.

“What happened in 1968 is still fresh. Nobody forgets,” he tells me. “There’s a phrase in Mexico, ‘dos de Octubre, no se olvida.’” October second is not forgotten. “I was born in 1974, six years after it happened, and still I know about it, like everyone in the country. It I notice that when we talk about Pumas and football, much of what we discuss has nothing to do with tackles or running backs.

Pumas former coach Paul Rivera
 “What happened in 1968 is still fresh. Nobody forgets,” he tells me. “There’s a phrase in Mexico, ‘dos de Octubre, no se olvida.’” October second is not forgotten. “I was born in 1974, six years after it happened, and still I know about it, like everyone in the country. It was something traumatic.”

Revolutionary uprisings were erupting all over the world in 1968. That summer, as Mexico prepared to become the first Latin American country to host an Olympic Games, unrest first emerged on the UNAM campus. It started at a football game.

THE SPARK THAT STARTED IT ALL

“At the universities, even at the high schools, it’s the students’ sport,’’ Coach Rivera says of football, echoing the words Hector Castro told me at the game. “Soccer is for everybody, but football is most popular with the students.”

Two high school teams affiliated with UNAM and its big rival IPN played each other in late July 1968.  After the game, a fight broke out among fans. The fight itself has been described as no particular big deal. The government’s response, though, felt like overkill. Riot police barricaded students inside UNAM’s high school, holding them captive for days. One officer discharged a bazooka, obliterating a door that had been hand-carved in the 18th century.

The UNAM student body rallied against the police aggression. The rector of the university joined the cause, lowering flags to half-mast and referring to the trapped students as political prisoners. The UNAM campus emptied into the streets, marchers shouting “Unete pueblo!” People unite!

In August, the movement’s leaders found their voice. They demanded the release of political prisoners, the abolition of the riot police and other liberal reforms. When the demands were not met, students chanted insults at President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, which had never been done; Mexican presidents had always been treated with reverence.

Marching into El Zocalo, the capital’s main square and the symbolic center of the country, the students vowed to stay overnight, or stay for a week, if that’s what it took. President Diaz Ordaz responded with tanks, first in the main square, then eventually onto the UNAM campus, which he shut down.

President Diaz has been described as as “patriarchal” and “authoritarian.” He censored rock music during his tenure. His police cut the long hair off boys walking down the street. The Olympic Games of 1968 were to be a coming-out party, his chance to show that Mexico was modern, a first-world nation. Nothing was going to disrupt the Games. So strong was his desire for order that, among all his efforts to crush the student uprising, he actively disrupted football. Of all things.

By October 2, with the Olympics about to start, Diaz Ordaz warned that he had tolerated student criticism, but “todo tiene un limite.” Everything has a limit. Grainy footage of a student rally in the Plaza of the Three Cultures shows young children in the crowd that day, and at least one pet dog. From a third-story terrace in an apartment building that fronts the plaza, students aired their grievances. Armed troops massed in the ruins of the old Aztec city. A military helicopter twirled overhead. When a flare dropped from the helicopter onto the plaza, the crowd scattered in confusion. Then the shots rang out.

It’s still unclear exactly what happened. The general consensus, all these years later, is that the first shots came from snipers planted by the government, and that the bullets were intended to spook the troops on the ground. Those troops fired back, striking one student after another. A low estimate counted maybe 40 dead. Other estimates start at 300 people killed, with the true number possibly much higher. (Remains of massacre victims have been discovered as recently as 2007.) Films show bodies falling onto the plaza’s slate tiles. And then more bodies. And then more bodies still.

Memorial monument with the names and ages of the known dead murdered that horrible day
 “The most traumatic part was the next day,” says Rivera. “The main TV news in Mexico started with an announcement that Mexico is waking up to a sunny day. Nobody said anything! Everybody was expecting questions like, ‘What happened? Why did they shoot them? Why are there so many dead?’ And yet, nothing.”

In 2005 and 2006 the then 84 year old former President Luis Echeverría (who was the interior minister and head of national security at the time of the massacre) was brought up on genocide charges concerning the 1968 massacre, and also separately accused of the same crime due to the Corpus Christi Massacre in 1971, where more student protestors, among others, were killed.  However, within a month this was dismissed because the statute of limitations had passed.  Further legal action was taken, but by 2009, Echeverría was cleared due to lack of direct evidence.

As for Echeverría, he claims the order for such an act by the snipers and army during the Tlatelolco Massacre could only have come from President Ordaz himself, who died in 1979.  “There was a hierarchy. The army is obligated to respond to only one man. My conscience is clear.”

Mexican presidents Luis Echeverría and Gustavo Díaz Ordaz. (Picture courtesy of Archivo Proceso)
The massacre at Tlatelolco effectively ended Mexico’s student movement.   The 1968 football season was canceled across Mexico. In 1969 UNAM tried to field a team but other universities declined to play them. A year after that, in 1970, Pumas players were divided into three separate squads, to dilute their talent. The games of those three teams were monitored closely by the government.

One former player told Powell "rowdy “fans” were planted in the stands to disrupt the games, to steal wallets and purses, to smash stuff and make the stadiums unattractive places to spend an afternoon."  Castro, the doctor and Pumas fan, told him the same thing.

“They didn’t want the students to get together, so they tried to disrupt football,” Castro says. “There was still that taboo linked to football, because of what happened in ‘68.”

UNAM football players didn’t unite again as one team until 30 years after the massacre, in 1998.

Football in Mexico was wounded by the crackdown on the student movement, but it survived.  A domestic professional league has started up, with six teams so far, all of them sporting their own cool helmets. And of course, the NFL is coming to the Azteca.  

members of the current Puma team jogging onto the practice field.
Ten days after the massacre at Tlatelolco,  President Diaz Ordaz opened the Summer Olympic Games. Volunteers released thousands of doves in a symbolic reference to the Games’ theme, which was peace.

At  the apartment building fronting the Plaza of Three Cultures,  from the terrace where the student leaders spoke to the crowd a mural has been painted which has a caricature of President Diaz and the words "“No se olvidara.” Do not forget. The massacre indeed remains fresh. 


54 comments:

  1. Prayers people will not murder each other over an enjoyable event. There is a motorcycle club without bad reps called the Raiders in the East Coast. Here's to hoping this event in Mexico that does not happen very often will NOT turn out disastrous.
    Standing off the sidelines due to appts.

    Enjoy...Cheers

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Many gangs on the US without bikes or bikers identify themselves with football teams, I don't blame the teams, but one speaker for each team could speak up and disown and distance themselves from the "gangs".
      "NO HAY PAN, PERO HAY CIRCO"
      nosotros los pobres y los de abajo nomás queremos que dejen de andar matando a nuestras gente para robarlos, ya ni tienen nada, como los ayotzinapos, no tenian nada, y todavia los necesitaron desaparecer, y ahora necesita el pinchi gobierno encubrir a sus pinchis soldados asesinos.
      Leave my people alone!

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    2. Asi es..los asesinos de tlatelolco fueron los soldados o clmo decia Jose de Molina qdep "la soldadesca"....el culpable fue el estado y fue un crimen de estado para ponerle un alto al movimiento esudiantil que cobraba mucha fuerza y amenazaba con opacar o poner en riesgo las olimpiadas y el turismo que estas trairian. Al
      Igual que Ayotsinapa, Acteal, Aguas Blancas y muchas mas masacres de estudiantes y campesinos, el estado siempre plantea diferentes versiones de los hechos para lavarse las manos y seguir empeorando una situacion ya decadente, con el narco en el
      Caso de ayotsinapa. Saludos bb reporters. Great job reporting. Not throwing shade at all.

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    3. 2 de octubre no se olvida!

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    4. José de molina hisself died from a beating the police gave him in his older years, once in cd juarez he grabbed a slice of 🍉 watermelon FROM A STREET VENDOR, and would NOT PAY HIM, then one of his admirers volunteered and paid the vendor.
      I suppose jose de molina was manipulative at times, and someone's puppet, but he put a good show for a long time, try and catch him on youtube, his message is always right.

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    5. Yes i seen Jose de Molina perform live a few times including one time in Highland Park...his message in his music was always filled with social content ranging from violence from the state to machismo in mexican society to corporate greed and exploitation but at times he did reveal his "heavy" attitude like its said in spanish..his death was attepmted to be covered up as a suicide sadly he knew of his eminent demise as he spoke about it in one of his last perfomances in the US...he said it himself that if something was to happen to him that it would be fould play no doubt because od the many enemies he accumulated throuout his career specially within the mexican government

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  2. Interesting article. BTW, I know the American football also spread to Europe. But soccer becoming more and more popular in USA. I guess there is an ongoing mixing up cultures and sports around the world.

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    1. Now that's a beautiful thing. El Nemesis-

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    2. Soccer has been used to move drugs around the world and to launder money too, including some mexican soccer empressarios like carlos ahumada kurtz, the argentinian the hs boma a millionaire from dirty deals with dirty mexican politicians all over mexico, all the way to mining and selling uranium to the chinese and his buddies the hank rohn brothers.
      The mexican government plants agents provocateurs to ignite problems, but before igniting the tlatelolco massacre, they had trained generals and policias judicial federales in anti-riot tactics and counter-intelligence operations, creating fake communistas to lead recruiting campaigns, the government even planned the tlatelolco student meeting with some directive members, and gave permission, th government also put the tanks and military and policias all over the place and started the shooting, the government also had thir paramilitary Brigada Blanca they had been training in secret. Then the government executed, just like in Brazil, or in umrainia, and in china, or sarajevo, among other glorious battlefields of international intrigue, some circus before setting the foxes loose for the hunting dogs.
      --The US ambassador win scott a d the mexican government planned real well their show of force, and their agents became the main drug trafficking squads until today, thanks to his Litempo agents.
      --general salvador cienfuegos zepeda was just graduating from the heroic military college, that also has many american football fans, cienfuegos has become.cienfogatas igniting trouble all over the country with his nazi death squads and repression wiping his ass with epn on the way.

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  3. Good stuff. My folks talk about the 68 massacre all the time, it was a horrible systematic killing by the government, and has been conveniently tucked away into the pages of history by that same government... knowing what my parents say about it, i can't help but smirk when Enrique Peña Nieto talks about "human rights" and whatever other political bullshit is coming out of his mouth at the time.

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  4. The Liga MX is the most popular soccer league in the US and its TV ratings sometimes beat the NBA and MLB. For me, the Azteca means only one thing, Club America!

    América, Águilas.
    América, a ganar.
    Estoy contigo,
    Oye mi corazón.
    América, Águilas.
    América, a ganar.
    No te detengas,
    tú serás el campeón.

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    1. America jajaja arriba las chivas

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    2. For me the estadio azteca represents the death sentence dictated by its owner emilio azcarraga and luis echeverria alvarez against don eugenio garza sada in sep 17 of 1973 to steal his share of estadio azteca, and to steal his chance of owning canal 8 en mexico city and canal 6 en monterrey, creating telesistema mexicano now televisa and the sol de mexico newspalers for his friend, mario vazquez raña of hermanos vazquez furniture fame but also a "supplier of weapons for the mexican army"
      22 days later, the mexican government also assassinated guadalajara businessman Fernando Aranguren and murdered him, thexican government also assassinated the main kidnapping "guerrilla leaders" to silence them about their association with the mexican anti-guerrilla counter-intelligence agents in charge of the mexican dirty wars against their own creation, the mexican leftist guerrillas.
      Book: "NADIE SUPO NADA, la verdadera historia del asesinato de Eugenio Garza Sada" by Jorge Fernandez Menendez.

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  5. Chinese are also big on foot ball even more than Mexico. Well, Mexico has easy acces to steroids so that's a start. Most these guys are all beefed up because of steroids when I was in highschool the guys in the foot ball team asked if I can bring them some from Mexico lol

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  6. I have always suspected there is a direct link between the massacre and the Olympic game that Mexico was hosting just weeks away from the 'Matanza de Tlatelolco'. I remember reading in old newspaper from the time, there was a lot of coverage in the front page, but the day the Olympics open, the only reference was that Mexico had overcome its problems and presented a magnificent opening. Does anyone have more information?

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    1. There have been a few pre-olimpic problems, including massacres that give the target governments a black eye and justify intervention, repression, regime changes, war, like:
      --sarajevo, tons of bombs to obliterate yugoslavia.
      --sochi, bombs away in Ukrainia
      --peking against the chinese.
      --mexico68 in the bag.
      --Moscow summer Olympics 1980.
      --Brazil 2016
      --retaliation in los angeles, boycott by several countries.
      The Olympics seem to have been corrupted by politics and steroids, politics is worse on steroids.

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    2. 5:02 the Moscow and LA boycotts had nothing to do with corruption. The US and some of our allies chose to boycott the Moscow games because of the Russians invasion of Afghanistan. The Communist countries returned the favor in 1984 minus Romania.

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  7. And you forgot to mention that whoever order the massacre went to enjoy a long wealthy life

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  8. I think mixing of cultures is not good for mexico they alreadys try coping everything the us has to offer in the citys of mexico its pretty lame, then mexico will loose its identity being like another county, it pisses me off when tv azteca talks about American celebrities all the time now and uses trending words, sorry i know this doesnt have to do with the articale but does relate somewhat

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    1. @1:41 Using your philosophy do you think the US will lose it's identity and become like Mexico because of the thousands and thousands of fans who enjoy and play soccer there?

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    2. I just miss the older telenovelas before hollywood got heavily involved. They had heart. Now they are tame and safe.

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    3. Lesson 1: Culture is learned knowledge from birth to date. Ethnicity is place of origin.

      Lesson 2: Mexico cannot lose its identity. The climate and environment stays the same unless global warming and natural disasters destroy.

      Lesson 3: People of Mexico cannot lose their biological identity, however they can lose their social identity.

      Lesson 4: The U.S.A. has been losing the melting pot description to diversity for quite some time. Hispanics and Asians will be the majority in the U.S.A. in a few decades.

      Lesson 5: There was a silent Indian war in the 90s. An Indian tribe refused to sell their origin of culture through artifacts and etc., and demanded others not to too. The tribe won with backing of another tribe. While other tribes sell their artifacts and become more acculturated to the American way, the tribe who fought this stands strong and lives by their origin of culture.

      To the point, although there are many reasons to people losing their culture whether by education, force or not, the decisions people make now will affect them in the future. There is no doubt a population shift is occurring in the U.S.A., likely the main reason Trump was elected. However, Trump only has money and balls going for him, and there is so many others out there in the world with these characteristics yet totally against Trump. Either way, the world is diversified and that is accepted

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    4. USA will be another Mexico!!where class will be the new race...no need to be a minority only the rich regardless of color...chew on the liberals...

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    5. @5:59PM
      For you #1 and #2 points, don't overlook that culture is also dynamic, therefore, a nation's identity (contrary to your point that Mexico can't lose it's identity) is also dynamic. A nation could lose it's cultural identity over time.

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    6. 7:55. Refer back to the lessons without the distraction of your significant other(s), media, or pet iguana. When You find the word acculturation, use Your critical thinking skills defining the vignette

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    7. @8:55AM No need for me to go back to the "lessons" since I specifically pointed out only 1 and 2. But if you really want to go there in point 5 then you seem to contradict yourself. If you're were trying to make an argument it's jumbled.

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    8. It's already like that 7:03 but the problem is there are a lot of poor white trailer trash who don't understand they are not high class. They believe they are superior to other races just because they are white. They hate to see a man or a woman of another race doing well or overachieving.

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    9. Mexico is already a different country. The language, religion, architecture, etc..is Spanish. Spain destroyed the true culture.

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    10. @10:56AM Great point.

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    11. "Acculturation" brung us giant public debt in exchange for promises, broken promises of ending the red scares through prophylactic wars for profit of a few, incling false dirty wars on drugs, and communism, paraquat wars and wars for the dominoes, the propaganda wars in favor of the BIG LIE won. americans owe their ass to the banks, congratlations!

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  9. $50 USD is only 350 pesos? Maybe back in 1968. More like 950 pesos now.

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    1. @3;21 Thanks for catching the mistake. I just used the author's numbers when I was doing the draft and didn't check it. In July when they went on sale the $50 tickets were approx. 925 pesos. But they got a bargain. If they had to buy them today after the continuing drop in the peso after the US election, they would cost $1021 pesos.

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    2. If you WA t to buy one dollar you have to pay 25 pesos.
      If you want to sell one dollar, you get 18 or 19 pesos, sometimes they are counterfeit pesos, and people will give you 30 pesos or more per dollar, there are lots of counterfeit 20 and 100 dollar bills, so you can buy your own beach in mexico.

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  10. Every 10 minutes there is 15 seconds of action! Like a 60 year old having sex!
    Football is boring!
    Fact!

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    Replies
    1. @3:49 Obviously you are not a football fan and your opinions are not "Fact". To the fans screaming their heads off making so much noise the QB has trouble calling the plays, they are not boring. This year there have been several already that were won in the last seconds of the game and several others that have gone to over-time. Those are not boring.

      As to the 60 year old having sex being boring, your opinion is also not a "Fact". I will be 74 years old next week and I can assure from personal experience that even now it is not boring. Fact

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    2. With all due respect 3:49, an unnecessary ageist comment that almost rises to the level of a national candidacy comment by....nevermind. One could argue that for some folks it takes 60 years to get it right. Besides, it's not only the destination that is important but equally the journey.

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    3. Good for you DD!It's quality not quantity!

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    4. @canadiana
      Now that is some funny shit! Thanks for the laffs!

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    5. American football is too much planning and politics these days and sex at 60 is kind of too much plotting and playing, almost like politics, no wonder it don't always work, sugar mamas.
      I don't like too many cookies, football is too many pinchi commercial pauses, la pinchi neta.

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  11. 35-0 and minus yardage....omg

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    1. 4:12 Yeah, the pinchis güeros eat their oats, avena, cebada, wheat, harinolina, cascarilla, sorgo y trigo, and grow strong, fit and trim like horses,

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    2. We mexicans should stick to cross country....

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    3. 7:56 that won't make us tarahumaras, mexicans excell at boxing but that is "too violent" says "immense pussytwat" alfredo castillo de kagadas, now mexican sports commissioner.

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    4. Stick to pinole, that won't help, just because one mexican out of 120 000 000 gets one gold medal...

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  12. Same kinda shit in the USA only not a big massacre . The first shots or whaterver the original bangs were at Kent state I believe was done by a CIA agitator . I watched a documentary many years ago that showed films from a bunch of the university riots . It would freeze on the guy throwing the first bottle ect.. so on at say he was cia . I believe it. To this day the cia are master manipulators throughout the world . Theres so many that are undocumented . We really don't know how powerful they are . We don't know what their budget is or how they earn it . We just get a glimpse now and then like Mena Arkansas . look up mena . Sorry I got off track . The president works for me . I do not work for him . He slaughter or people he needs to be held accountable .

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  13. Most football fans have to be stuffing their gut with booze and BBQ to believe that they are enjoying the game.
    Football is good for putting you to sleep!

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    1. @ 5;08 No cerveza, though. Unlike at soccer games in Mexico’s top league, beer is forbidden at Pumas games. Football in Mexico is seen as a more family-friendly sport.

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    2. Most men watch at home, and they have to watch in the garage, the basement or the dog house, because others own and run "his castle", the beer and ribs make it worth it, popcorn and buffalo wings and pizza on the side help, a few watch porn on the computer or look up the singles pages. In their secret obama phones.

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  14. I remember watching a documentary film on this massacre in the '80s. It didn't stop at the plaza. Soldiers broke into people's homes and dragged out people, mostly students, and killed them. It was full-on terror, like Stalin would have done. Don't think this can't happen again. And look at what happened to the perpetrators...nothing.

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    1. Eli de Gortari uncle of Carlos Salinas de Gortari was holed up at the UNAM, the policia judicial federal and the DFS WERE TRYING TO ENTICE HIM OUT with some cheese on a rat trap, "here here Mickey Mous" Our Man in mexico Win Scott informed the american president.
      A lot of the best information regarding MEXICO68 TLATELOLCO, and jueves de corpus, comes from documents released by the US, OK?

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  15. Cds nut huggers will say that el chapo tried to prevent this

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    Replies
    1. 3:18 el chapo was still naked playing with the pigs in the pig pen when this shit happened, el barbas too...

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