Tijuana Galgos (in green and black uniforms) at this weekend’s game
What to expect at a Tijuana Galgos game: Chile sauce on popcorn, the Mexican national anthem – and the team’s U.S. fans cheering loudly in English.
A Tijuana Galgos game doesn’t seem to be so much about crass commercialism or redundantly flawless moves. This is basketball as I imagine it should be: A bunch of guys of varying height brought together across borders by a shared passion and competitiveness. The team (like others in Mexico’s professional basketball league, which was founded in 2000) has a fair number of African-American and Mexican-American players from the United States.
I was vaguely aware that Tijuana had a basketball team, but it took me a while – Sorry! I’m not typically a sports fan – to finally see them this past Saturday.
It was the last game of the season, against Ciudad Victoria which is another border city south of Texas. The Galgos (translation: a type of greyhound) had been struggling throughout the year – faced with a rotating roster of coaches – and expectations weren’t running particularly high.
Every so often, the Galgos Girls performed a series of modest dance moves. During half-time some local high school basketball players were honored with tropheys. The Galgos mascot, a masked fellow in a cape, at one point grabbed a Galgos flag from a fan and started waving it around.
The Galgos, reminding us of their shining moments from recent years, commanded a winning lead throughout the game and won 94-82, raising hopes for a better outcome in 2009-2010. Afterwards, small children stormed the court to ask the players to sign basketballs, shirts, and arms. And I was left wanting to know more about these players and how they brought us all together that Saturday night.
** Update: The Mexican basketball league has provided opportunities for a number of basketball players who later played with the NBA. Dennis Rodman, Horacio Llamas, Jamario Moon are a few examples, according to this Wikipedia entry***