Last night I watched “The Two Escobars” a documentary created for ESPN’s 30×30 series. It follows the story of a drug dealer and soccer hero who were both killed during the horrific violence that took place in the early 1990s in Colombia. They were not related, but they both had the last name Escobar. It was a powerful and tragic story.
A favorite at the 1994 World Cup, Colombia fell apart due to death threats and the incredible pressure they felt trying to change the image of their war-torn country. At the World Cup, the first Colombian player ever offered a contract by A.C. Milan accidentally kicked a ball into his own goal. A few weeks later he was killed by either drug dealers who lost a lot of money on the game or in a fight with people who were angry for his mistake.
After the disappointing finish, Andres Escobar wrote a beautiful article encouraging his countrymen. He wrote: “No matter how difficult, we must stand back up. We only have two options: either allow anger to paralyze us, and the violence continues, or we overcome, and try our best to help others. It’s our choice. Let us please maintain respect. My warmest regards to everyone. It’s been a most amazing and rare experience.”
With a message bigger than the game of soccer, he ended the article with these tragically ironic words: “Hasta pronto, porque la vida no termina aqui” which when translated means: “See you soon, because life doesn’t end here.”
Though his life tragically ended, to me Andres Escobar was a hero for lifting his country to a high (leading up to the 1994 World Cup) they had never experienced before nor since and because of the way he sought to overcome his mistake by comforting his people rather than leaving Colombia for a safer place.