No último minuto (‘In the last minute’)

For the semantic range of frango and frangueiro McGehee turned to UT’s Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection and the Dicionário futebolês português: E outras curiosidades da bola (The Portuguese Dictionary of Futebol and Other Curiosities Related to the Ball) by Luiz Cesar Saraiva Feijó, published in 2006. The book includes gnomic sayings and non sequiturs from Lusophone players, demonstrating that while Portuguese may be a lyrical language it is not immune to curious utterance. One example that McGehee provides comes from former FC Porto right back and current assistant coach João Domingos Pinto, known for an earnest style that led Bobby Robson, Porto manager from 1994–96, to say: “He has two hearts and four legs.” Of a critical period in FC Porto history, Pinto says:

O meu clube estava à beira do precipício, mas tentou a decisão correta: deu um passo à frente.

My club was on the brink of the precipice, but it tried to make the right decision and took a step forward.

For Aethlon, the journal of the Sport Literature Association, McGehee has also translated short stories by Sergio Ramírez Mercado, former Nicaraguan vice-president, and Uruguayan novelist Juan Carlos Onetti.

Sérgio Sant'Anna, No último minuto

(Photo illustration © 2009 The Global Game)

CHANNEL 5—It’s rejected by their defense. The high ball reaches our midfielder, Breno. He traps it on his chest, drops it to the ground, and then loses control of the ball. But nobody will remember this: that the first error was Breno’s. Now the ball is on the foot of their midfielder, Luiz Henrique. It’s the moment of desperation, the last minute. We’re playing for the tie and they have to win. The scoreboard shows 1–1. Luiz Henrique launches the ball toward the left, a long, very deep pass. It’s one of those wild attempts, in the frustration of the end of a game, just to see what might happen. The ball has too much force, heading for the left corner. But their forward thinks he can get to the ball and outruns our right back. The ball has so much speed—it has to cross the end line, far from the goal. But their forward, Canhotinho, stubbornly keeps running, giving it everything he has. Our right defender is left far behind and Canhotinho is coming at top speed. At this moment I yell at Lula: “Get him, get him.” But my shout can’t be heard in the stands nor in the TV. And Lula is the central defenseman of the national team and, between me and him, they prefer to burn me. “Get him, get him,” I’m shouting, just to be safe. Because nobody can believe one of those kinds of plays can happen. And Lula only covers the situation to guarantee the ball goes out of bounds. He doesn’t enter hard into the play; he doesn’t enter with his heart. Canhotinho arrives completely without legs at the end of that long run, but even so, he strikes the ball with his left foot, exactly when it’s on the end line. And then he falls over the line on top of the photographers.

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