In Cuautepec of Mexico City, I was attending a Day of the Dead event on November 1, 2022.
Like the rest of Mexico City, they were holding Day of the Dead events leading up to November 2nd and on the day itself.
You can see the advertisement for the event here.
Given I had been to Cuautepec before while checking out their cablebus from Indios Verdes and liked the area, I returned to check out their Day of the Dead event.
It was some huge parade that was much more lively than most Day of the Dead events I saw this year.
And, while I'll write a separate article soon dedicated to the moment, I'll just say that it was my favorite Day of the Dead event that I enjoyed in 2022.
Greatly underappreciated with no gringos and few people not living in Cuautepec attending.
Near the end of the parade, I found myself anyhow on a street that would lead you to Jardin Hidalgo.
Ordering a michelada with a hamburger and fries.
Once finished, I continued walking with the huge crowd in the street.
Just a endless crowd of people.
Most of us walking to Jardin Hidalgo as they were hosting a related event over there.
With Volkswagen Beetles on display.
A mini concert of sorts.
Some cultural event of people dancing from what I saw.
Plenty of food and drinks.
Along the walk over anyhow, I saw something unusual but also interesting.
Interesting for only a man that is from a state in the US known as Iowa.
A flyover state that absolutely nobody gives a fuck about.
Except for the good people of Cuautepec.
Here is what I saw that was so interesting (especially after enough micheladas anyhow).
There you have it.
A HAWKEYES supporter.
Obviously the good people of Cuautepec are quite intelligent, yes?
For it is within these lands where you won't see a SINGLE Iowa State jacket.
But something for the Hawkeyes?
The best football team of the entire nation.
Nobody is better than them.
And definitely not Iowa State.
Of course, with enough micheladas in me, I had to approach the man.
Is Our Hawkeyes Fan in Cuautepec of Mexico City a REAL Fan?
I must admit I probably scared and weirded out our Mexican Hawkeyes fan in Cuautepec.
I approached him anyhow after taking his photo without his knowledge.
And began making small talk out of nowhere in an area known as "the favelas of Mexico City" and for supposedly being quite dangerous.
And here is this seemingly half drunk gringo coming up on him out of nowhere in an area where no other white gringos like me can be found.
Asking him about his Hawkeyes jacket.
I just HAD to interrogate him.
After all, he is wearing the merchandise of MY people.
He ain't from Iowa.
He ain't Iowan.
He ain't living in Iowa.
This is MY people and our HOLY football team.
So I had to know: just how much of a fan is he really?
No, no. I didn't "pop quiz" him on Hawkeye sports facts.
"When was the team founded? In what city are the Hawkeyes from? How many games have they won in the last century? Can you get Jack Campbell to give me his autograph?"
But I was curious as to why he was wearing what he was wearing.
Maybe the dude legit knows Iowa?
Given I'm from Iowa and we're in a place like Cuautepec, I just can't let this coincidence slip by me.
So I walked up beside him and introduced myself.
"Soy Matt. Soy de Iowa" I told him half drunkingly.
He looked at me confused and worried.
Looking over his shoulder.
As if I had friends that were about to rob him and I was the man to distract him.
"Bro, you really think my Iowan ass came all the way over here to rob you for the 200 pesos (10 bucks) in your Mexican pockets?"
But he entertained a brief conversation with me.
Perhaps upon realizing my accent and obvious foreignness and that I probably am not trying to rob him.
We made small talk anyhow.
Was he from Iowa? No.
Has he been to Iowa? No.
Does he have family or friends in Iowa? No.
Does he watch the Hawkeyes? Supposedly. He likes American football anyhow ("any team, any team" he told me).
I realized then, like the devil in the pale moon light stabbing me in the heart, that he was, in fact, not a TRUE Hawkeyes fan.
He was an imposter.
OK, sure. He's watched the Hawkeyes play.
But he seemed to be more into general American football, thinks the Hawkeyes aren't bad enough to wear their merchandise but is not a REAL Hawkeyes fan.
Out of pure disgust, I had to part ways from him or else I knew I'd get into a fist fight.
Actually, I disengaged from the conversation because I suspected he was still suspicious and weirded out about why a random white gringo would appear out of nowhere in the favelas of Mexico City to talk with him about the Hawkeyes at 10 PM at night.
He seemed nice anyhow.
And, I guess you can say, he was kinda like a Hawkeyes fan.
Enough to wear our merchandise.
And obviously smart enough to not wear a Iowa State jacket.
Nor was he the only Latin American I have met smart enough to pick the right team from Iowa.
As I wrote here, the first and only other time as of this writing in 2022 where I saw a Latin American in my near decade of living here wearing a Hawkeyes jacket was in Nicaragua.
I believe the Nicaraguan capital of Managua.
It was a homeless man doing a song and dance in the street for change.
And he too, like all our other triple IQ digit brothers, knew that the Hawkeyes were better than Iowa State.
But, in that moment, I was confused.
Especially with limited experience in Latin America at the time.
"Why is a random homeless dude wearing a Hawkeyes jacket?" I thought to myself while recovering from food poisoning at the time in the blazing heat of the Nicaraguan capital.
To be fair, I didn't run out of the vehicle I was in to ask him.
And my Spanish probably would've been too weak at the time to engage in a real conversation to ask him.
To this day, I just assume he was wearing some cheap piece of clothing donated to him.
And the Mexican man in Cuautepec?
He might've been wearing something donated also since Cuautepec is known for being a relatively poor area of the city.
But, in his own defense, he did seem legitimately interested in American football during our brief 5 minute interaction.
But that's not really the main point of this article.
Putting that aside about why some would wear something like a Hawkeyes jacket down here, the main thing that comes to mind is just the fact that it happens at all.
And, as an American from Iowa (or any state), the bewilderment you have at seeing something like that.
The bewilderment is strong when you are new here.
But, by the time you are drinking in the streets of Cuautepec, it's no longer bewilderment and just entertainment.
And something to lighten the spirits when you see your home state so well represented far from where you were born.
Fist fights would've commenced if he was poorly representing my state with a Iowa State jacket instead.
So, above all, it's just an entertaining sight to see when you are living abroad.
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Thanks for reading.