Rugby, one of the driving forces that turned the Andes tragedy into a miracle

Survivors have always linked their strength in the mountains to their passion and dedication to rugby. In fact, that was the reason they were traveling to Santiago when the accident happened.

The tragedy (and miracle) of Los Andes turns 50. Half a century ago, the Fairchild Hiller 227 of the Uruguayan Air Force collapsed in front of a massif in the mountain range at 4,000 meters above sea level. An accident that shocked the world and which had rugby as its central axis: the plane took the campus of the university team to Chile Old Christians of Montevideo. There they had considered a game against the Old Boys, but the idea of ​​going to play a friendly ended up leading them to play the game of their lives.

It is therefore impossible not to think of the role that a life linked to sport had on the 16 survivors. Especially in a discipline like rugby, where resilience, self-love and camaraderie are built. In fact, over time, the same protagonists have admitted and reflected on this situation.

One of the first to do so was Roberto Canessa, who, shortly after being rescued from the Valley of Tears, spoke with El Grafico magazine about rugby’s involvement in months of 3,500m fighting. “Sport has taught us to absorb great effort. We encourage a spirit of sacrifice that accustoms us to big changes. We know how to win and we know how to fight adversity. In rugby, moreover, we have learned to support the partner in need, to help the weak sector, to show solidarity with those who are in need so that the collective is more important than the individual. We explain the same thing in the Cordillera. We transformed a group of homeless people into a team ready to overcome all obstacles. and we did it “, he commented.

A reflection very close to that presented by Gustavo Zerbino in Viva magazine a few years ago: “For me, having been a rugby player made the difference, because rugby is already adapted before you start playing. First, they must, all together, pass the ball to the other side; in the fray there are eight that all push together and teach you how to get up every time you fall and keep running “, he added at that time.

The most important thing is that the judge is always right. What do you mean? That whatever happens, you you have keep doing the right thing for the right reasons, without complaining. Rugby is the most democratic sport I know because it is played by the fat, the thin, the fast, the slow, the big, the small; everyone has their place. In the Cordillera, everyone had a gift and, in that, I was the number one Zerbino added.

But rugby was not only there, since it was also present beyond the rescue. At this point, the duel that is played each October called the “Friendship Cup” and which aims to honor those who died in the accident is already a classic. Discipline is also present in the memorial that exists at the site of the accident. There are dozens of rugby-related items, such as Chilean and Argentine team balls, shirts and commemorative plaques.

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Source: Latercera

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