The Life of Percy Gustavo Ramos
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Celebrating Peru going to the World Cup together
THE DAY WE CELEBRATED PERU'S QUALIFICATION TO THE WORLD CUP AFTER 36 YEARS!
You cannot simply talk about one single memory that is better than others with this man. This is the man that I idolized, my hero, and my best friend. However, one vivid memory remains ingrained in my head. After 36 long years, on last spot left in the World Cup remained opened. One South American had to battle it out with New Zealand on the second leg of the Intercontinental playoffs to qualify to the 2018 World Cup, the name of that country is Peru. After 36 long years, one of his most die-hard fans was sitting next to me at Cigar bar, his name was Percy Gustavo Ramos, my father. The last time he had witnessed such a feat was back in 1982 sitting next to his father, my grandfather Mito. This night was different. We had still a few skeptics in the bar. But Dad never stopped yelling at the TV screen as if they could hear him. Every time they missed an opportunity to score my dad would get furious and he was so passionate that at some point his powerful voice would overpower everyone's cheers and catcalls. His larger than life presence was felt in every room he would walk in, but if the event was a sporting event...he immediately would be the focus of all attention.
At times, I'd think someone would say something to him but no one dared. He had been waiting for so many years his voice would make that room vibrate. Then, after 28 minutes, Peruvian striker Jefferson Farfan scored the first goal. My dad's voice joined the voices of another 35 million. Yet, his was special...his is the only one that mattered to me. After the game was over, my father held his beer cup over his head and while everyone was jumping and celebrating he just sat in his chair, with his eyes closed trying to fight his tears. That's when I looked down and among the celebration, I hugged the only person in the world that I wanted to share this moment with. My Dad said:
Last time I watched Peru qualify to the World Cup was with my father, now I watched with my son.
Such powerful words, that resonated with me. He was excited to watch every game Peru was going to play at the World Cup.
Then, short months after he was diagnosed with Cancer. By the time we realized his diagnosis it was too late for treatment. At his hospital bed, he asked his oncologist if he believed he was going to be alive for the World Cup in mid-June. The doctors could not be certain of how long he had left. Dad was so frustrated because he knew his time was coming. Then, my sister Irene and a professional soccer player named Horacio Benincasa made a miracle happen. For years, my dad supported and cheered his beloved National Soccer team, and in his finals days, he started getting videos made by the soccer players themselves including Jefferson Farfan cheering him on. Giving him strength and encouraged him to keep fighting. And even though my father's voice was not one of the 35 million that cheers the Peruvian National team when they appeared in Russia after 36 years. He was the only man that the team sent greetings before going to Russia. Thank you, Daddy for inspiring us.
Te amo, papá.