The major function of DearGyan.com is to showcase cultural identity as expressed through soccer in New York City and beyond. I like to consider how we use soccer to help define ourselves and to find community, especially in a place like New York City where it’s easy to feel anonymous or lost. I always get excited when I find a quirky bit of soccer in an unexpected place, especially when that discovery is infused with multiculturalism.
That’s how I felt when I encountered two heavy-duty vehicles proudly advertising Rangers FC and CS Emelec in the past couple weeks. The clubs and the car owners represent two disparate cultures — Scotland and Ecuador — and the cars were parked in two distant locations in New York City. I first spotted a blue pickup with two large Rangers FC decals and another sticker advertising the owner’s membership in the Cuchullain Pipe Band, a group of bagpipers located in New Jersey. The Scottish pride truck was parked outside a factory near the Ridgewood, Queens/Bushwick, Brooklyn border. I didn’t check to see if the cab had a tartan interior.
Yesterday morning, I found a Nissan Armada with stickers announcing a family’s support for SC Emelec, one of Ecuador’s two most successful soccer clubs, along with Barcelona Sporting Club. As the truck informs us, Emelec are two-time defending champions in Ecuador’s Serie A.
Although the two vehicle owners celebrate two distinct cultures, they have a lot in common. Both support one side in their nation’s biggest sports rivalry. Scotland has the Old Firm between Celtic and Rangers, both located in Glasgow. Ecuador has El Clasico de Astillero between Barcelona SC and Emelec, both located in Guayaquil.
Both owners also share similar multicultural experiences. They have certainly embraced American enthusiasm for large, inefficient vehicles as well as American bumper sticker culture — our tendency to treat our cars like our Facebook walls, decorating them with all our interests, attitudes and skills.