To The Pointwith Boris Bozic
Commentary, Opinions, Thoughts and Discussion on Current Events, Politics and The Mortgage Industry

0 Comments World Cup 2014: Ouch, That Stung

Article written by on the 25 Jun 2014 in World Events

I’ve been to a number of soccer matches in foreign countries, but nothing compares to the hostile atmosphere I experienced Monday night in Recife, Brazil.  The stadium was awash with green, the colour of the Mexican soccer jersey.  With the Brazilians in attendance supporting the Mexicans, this was like a home game for Mexico.

They were in full voice, and my dad and I were left with no choice but to grimace (sorry, there could be no grin) and bear it. The Mexican fans showed little in the way of imagination, but I have to hand to them, they sure are perseverant.  On every opposing free kick they would wave their hands and chant the same thing over and over again. They start as the player is setting up, and when he kicks the ball they yell out “puto.”  It goes something like this: “Oooooooooooooooooo, Putoooooooo!”

I don’t think there’s a need to provide a definition of the word “puto.”  It’s an international word, the pronunciation being fairly close in Portuguese, Spanish and Italian. Suffice it to say, it’s not nice.  Now, to be fair, Croatian fans have some nasty chants.  But when you’re a thousand, amongst forty thousand in attendance, there’s no getting even.

Being serenaded all night by the Mexican fans, while witnessing a meltdown by the Croatian soccer team in the second half of the game, had me thinking about taking the long journey home a tad early.  The game was puzzling. The Croatian team dominated play in the first half and I got the sense it was just a matter of time before they scored. Yet, for some unknown reason the Croatian coach decided to change tactics and formation in the second half. What a stroke of genius it was. The Croatian players looked totally confused and surrendered 3 goals in a matter of 10 minutes.  Alex, I’ll take “oops” for $1,000. Final score, Mexico 3 – Croatia  1.  Full measure to Mexico.  On this night they were the better team.

The result of the game did not produce an indelible memory of the game itself.  But the experience getting to the game was a highlight.  There were so few Croatian fans attending the game that we became a novelty.  I giggled watching my dad being constantly asked to pose with Mexican fans for a picture.  On the bus, the metro and at the game. It was constant.  I started calling him Hollywood.  He graciously accepted every request for a photo and was happy to do it.

I chuckled at some offers made to me be some Mexican supporters, like the man in the picture wearing a mask. He asked if I would trade my commemorative Euro 2008 cap, from Austria, for his homemade, papier-mâché, Lucha Libre  Mexican wrestling mask. As difficult as the decision was, I respectfully declined.  Or the woman who approached me on the platform at the metro. She wanted to exchange the jersey she was wearing for the one I had adorned.  I had to think that through.  First of all, she was a size minus 3 and I was wearing a jersey that had enough material to make a duvet for a king size bed.  Secondly, I wasn’t feeling the love for Mexican fans.  For 90 minutes during the game you kept calling me a puto, and now you want my jersey?  Thirdly, it was a Mexican jersey! I passed on the offer.

It was a great trip but now it’s time to flip the switch.  I see the condo market is rather buoyant, and prices have increased some 285% in the last three years.  Okay, so I’m referring to the condo market in Recife, Brazil.  Try as might I couldn’t find a single article about a looming condo bust there. No worries, I’ll get plenty of that as soon as I touch down in Toronto.

Until next time


Read More Add a Comment

0 Comments Greetings From 2014 World Cup: The Madness of Manaus, Brazil

Article written by on the 20 Jun 2014 in World Events

Unless you’re from this region or a geography major, the likelihood that you’ve heard about Manaus would be somewhat remote – just like it’s location.  It’s an industrial city, in the middle of the Amazon.  How and why this location was chosen to host matches during the World Cup, is a mystery, at least to me it is.   A beautiful new stadium was built specifically for the World Cup in Manaus.  It’s seats forty thousand, and has all the amenities that we’re used to in North America, including beautiful hospitality suites.  But here’s the thing, there’s no local team that plays in the Brazilian top league. Evidently Manaus has a team that plays in the third division, and a few of the locals I spoke to about the future of the newly built monument indicated that hundreds, not thousands, of people attend these games. So what does one do with a brand new shinny stadium in the middle of a jungle?  No one seems to know.  It appears the stadium was built to host four games during the World Cup, period.  In an odd way it’s comforting to know we haven’t cornered the market on wasteful spending.

Here’s what I can tell you about Manaus, it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing city, unless of course you’re into the industrial rough edge look.  The rules of the road? There are none.  It’s amazing to drive around in cabs and laugh, cry and gasp, all in about 30 seconds.  After one ride my dad commented on the size of the tip I gave.  I replied, “We’re alive, it’s worth every penny”.  What the city lacks in looks, it makes up for in its citizens.  They’re also pleasant, and tolerant of us tourists invading their space and city.  I was taken aback by the service levels we received at the hotel.  One evening I was in the restaurant having a look at the menu, while waiting for my father to join me. I was really struggling with the font size on the menu so out comes out my iPhone, and my Flashlight App.  Out of nowhere the waiter appears with a step latter, he climbs it to the top wrung so that he can adjust the track lighting on the ceiling to give me more light so help read the menu. I was somewhat embarrassed, and I said “no, no, no, it’s not necessary”. Unfortunately I didn’t know how to say that in Portuguese, so I shrugged my shoulders and said, “orbigado”, thank you in Portuguese.  He nodded and moved on to serve another customer, the only time the waiter cracked a smile was when he saw the size of the tip I left.  Based on his reaction I may be an honorary family member, not sure, but he said a lot in Portuguese, and he seemed to be really happy.

Speaking of happy, pops and I were overjoyed by the result of the game we went to see.  Croatia 4 – Cameroon 0.  That was a good old fashion spanking.   We both commented that this was the least stressful game we’ve ever watched together.  We know it’s going to be short lived; the next game against Mexico is do-or-die. If Croatia wins they move on, if they don’t, they go home.  Very shortly my dad and I will be heading home, but first we head to Recife, Brazil, a coastal town that that will host the Croatia versus Mexico game.  So, muito obrigado Manaus, and Oi, Recife!

Until next time


Read More Add a Comment

1 Comments World Cup 2014: More Than Just a Game

Article written by on the 13 Jun 2014 in Current Events

“Euphoria and disappointment are emotions that will eventually fade, but memories last a lifetime.”

It must be a part of my genetic makeup, but I just hate to lose, pretty much at anything.   I’ve always been that way, and because I’m wired that way – it’ll never change.  What changes with age is perspective, and understanding that defeat does not have to be undignified. For me it’s no longer emotion first, think second.  Unfortunately for me, to get this stage it took a lot of years, and I mean a lot of years, as well as some sound advice along the way.  As an example, a few years ago I was playing a round of golf, a game that has tortured me for years, I was madder than hell at this one round.  During the round I decided not to suffer silently. I shared my feelings with my playing partners in the most colorful manner – I was in fine form.  I guess one of my playing partners had heard enough, and he decided it was time to give me a reality check.  He was wonderful golfer, so when he walked up to me and said “I have some advice for you”, I was all ears.  He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “You’re not good enough at this game to get mad, so just enjoy the day”.  After the round I reflected on what my playing partner said to me, and I came to the conclusion he was absolutely right.  Now when I play golf, and the demons start to creep in, I remind myself it beats the alternative.

My ability to put things into perspective was put to the test yesterday.  It started with the Liberals being re-elected, even though the party has been riddled with scandal, currently under two separate OPP criminal investigations, and a well-documented disregard for the public coffers, the Liberals were reelected.  The voters have spoken, the voters are always right, and the people of Ontario will get what the so justly deserve.  

My second brush with perspective had to do with something far more important than the results of the Ontario provincial elections, the opening game of the World Cup.  The game of soccer was introduced to me by my father.  I still remember as an eight year old, my father taking me to my fist soccer game when we went on a family vacation, in what was then Yugoslavia.  The game took place in Split, Croatia.  The local team, Hajduk, played Red Star, from Belgrade, Serbia.  As an eight year old I knew nothing of politics, and what was causing the underlining tension in the stadium.  But I could decipher the atmosphere, the vibe, and the mood in the stadium was almost palpable.  At that point in my life I had never been in a stadium with a crowd of that size.  I was mesmerized, and from that moment on, I was hooked on the game.  My parents are proud Canadians, but they ensured I had a connection to my ancestry.  It’s for that reason my juices get flowing when the Croatian national soccer team plays in major tournaments.  The opening match of the 2014 World Cup was Brazil versus Croatia.  Being a fan of the game I was under no illusions.  Mighty Brazil against a country with a population of 4.5 million, it was a re-enactment of David versus Goliath. Much to my surprise Croatia took the lead, but it was in the middle of the second half of play I had to put things into perspective. Brazil is a glamor team, they spent far too much money to host the tournament not make an easy passage into the second round, Brazil means high TV ratings, there was no way they were going to lose.  It mattered little that the officiating during the game would lead one to question the integrity of the game. Commerce trumps all in soccer. That’s just the way it is. Brazil 3 Croatia 1.

Perspective allows me to put the results of yesterday’s game aside, and focus more on the journey and experience I’m about to undertake.  On Monday, my father and I leave for Brazil, to watch Croatia play against Cameroon and Mexico.  I would love to be able to celebrate a couple of victories with my father.  But if that’s not to be…that’s okay.  Euphoria or disappointment will eventually fade, but memories stay with you for a lifetime.

Until next time,


Read More Add a Comment

Contact Boris


  • Welcome!

    "I work in a world of numbers, process, execution, risk mitigation and all kinds of other sexy stuff. To share my thoughts, opinions and personal tidbits does have some creative appeal for me. It will also push me to do something that I am not totally comfortable with, writing. Get me in front of a room full of people to do a presentation and I'm on. Writing a story that others may actually be interested in reading sounds like a challenge to me. The reality is that I enjoy a good challenge and if it ends up that mom is the only reader of my blog so be it."

  • Subscribe