A few months ago, the news was made public that King Juan Carlos I had awarded Vicente del Bosque, the coach of the national soccer team that, for the first time ever, won the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, the title of Marquis of Del Bosque, in recognition of “…his dedication to Spanish sport and the contribution Vicente del Bosque Gonzalez has made to promoting sporting values.”
I won’t question the King’s words when he conceded the honor, and, furthermore, even though they may be a little tardy, I’d like to take the opportunity to send del Bosque a sincere and cordial welcome to the ranks of Spain’s title nobility. But, in my humble opinion, there may be other motives than those expressed in the Concessionary Decree behind his appointment.
As a Spaniard, in the same way our monarch feels Spanish to the bone, I had never seen my fellow countrymen as united behind a single cause – the victory of the national team – nor as linked together by a symbol which belongs to us all, the Spanish flag.
Wherever you went in Spain, and I traveled all over Spain during the World Cup period, you found the flag flying in cities and villages, in bars and offices, from balconies and even in the branches of some banks! For all Spaniards, that filled us, and still fills us, with national pride at a time when culture and information are increasingly global, but when nationalist parties win local victories that see regional flags flying above what, for years, has been our national emblem. Nationalism in Spain, perhaps without wishing to, or perhaps because that is its aim, can only have a prejudicial effect on our feeling part of one nation. It uses up our energy and makes us lose focus.
That’s something that has been happening in Spain, gradually and imperceptibly, as well as very intelligently, for the last 35 years and which has been passed on from generation to generation. And, in the interesting times in which we live, it is something which is even more serious.
As our King likes to have his messages come over loud and clear without having to be written down, I think he may just have done it again. My congratulations to him, too.