When 59-year-old Carlos Argueta lost his sight five years ago, he thought his ability to enjoy a live soccer match — a special passion of his — was also gone.
Argueta didn't attend a game for years until this past weekend, when his home country of Honduras played a friendly against Colombia in Fort Lauderdale.
While Argueta still couldn't see the action transpiring on the field, he experienced it in perhaps a more intimate way than ever before, and all thanks to a rival fan.
Cesar Daza, donning a bright yellow Colombia jersey and standing face-to-face with Argueta for Sunday's match, held between them in the stands a rectangular board. He moved his hands with Argueta's, guiding his friend and fellow fan across the mini soccer field to parallel the action playing out on the pitch.
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When Honduras netted a goal in the 53rd minute, Daza swung Argueta's hands to the side of the board and let go to clap along, a good sport as Argueta — sporting his own team's jersey, white with blue vertical stripes — leaped up to celebrate an exciting moment for his team that he felt, even if he couldn't see it.
The heartwarming celebration, caught on a cellphone video, has gone viral.
“Feeling that this person cannot see the goal and just feel it, just seeing how we celebrate. Cesar showed us a lot more than just the soccer,” said Santiago Montoya of Four 19 Agency, a digital marketing firm in Miami.
Daza learned the skill to interpret sports for those who can no longer see or hear back in his native Colombia, where he would perform his unique form of broadcast for local soccer matches.
“I feel a sense of pride,” Daza said in Spanish. “Being able to be the eyes for people who can’t see.”
Through the years Daza has also learned how to interpret other sports — from football to baseball to basketball.
“He sees the hands and he flies, and not only Cesar, but the other person -- it’s more how he’s feeling -- that is what is exciting,” Montoya said.
“What I see happening on the field – I translate it with my hands onto the board,” Daza said in Spanish.
Even though Argueta's team fell in a 2-1 loss, he was still grateful for the chance to actually be there.
“It was motivating, something special,” Argueta said following the match.