A few months ago, in the middle of the season, Jorge Sanchez made a bet with Savannah. It’s not that one beat the other, because they both wanted the same thing to happen, but this veteran follower is considered the winner because one day, in a game, he assured the president of CB Gran Canaria that if the team qualified for the Copa del Rey would have to buy him a drink. “He owes me that beer in Badalona, I’m going to tell him.” The highest president leaves today for the Barcelona town; the fan, unique because he has not missed a single participation in the island’s representative KO tournament, arrived yesterday.
Because retirement lives as a continuous party and more so when February arrives on the calendar. It is then that Sánchez, like so many basketball fans in Spain, fully enjoys the oasis that the Cup represents, the perfect excuse to travel, get to know and also see good basketball. Since that first expedition with the team in 2000, at the Vitoria event, things have changed, although the essence is the same.
“For me Granca is a family. Man, he’s been growing up, but that’s normal. Since that first time in 2000 we have participated in 14 Cups (this is the fourteenth), we have won the Super Cup… We have almost everything. We need to win the Cup ”, he comments just after finishing eating in a restaurant in Barcelona shortly after landing with his eight companions. “I can tell you that on this trip, that we are four couples and one more, many people have signed up because I have swallowed them. I ate their ear and for three months we have had the tickets and the hotel in the Plaza de Cataluña, without knowing if it was classified”.
Sánchez’s affirmation is at the same time confirmation that the Cup is above the participation or not of his team. In fact, he has not been able to see Granca for five years because the island team has not qualified, a time that “boring” step, although he says it between laughs. “Last year, without participating in Granca, I went to Granada. I also went to Barcelona again to see the quarterfinals without him being there, ”he reveals.
Now, finally, he has the opportunity to feel the adrenaline of following the team of his love away from home. Two of the tournaments were in Gran Canaria and even in 2018 he volunteered “to try a different experience.” Of all of them, he claims to “always choose the first one because it was a success and a novelty” for him.
“A group of us stayed in the Sobrón Valley and others in Éibar and we stayed on the field. It was a spectacular thing. Then the hobbies are also different. As soon as the games are over they are already asking you for the scarves to exchange them. It is a completely familiar treatment that has nothing to do with other events”, he recounts with some emotion while mixing memories of his cup-bearing trips, although he also admits that “the Super Cup (2016) was also very exciting”. “Winning like we beat Barcelona was impressive,” he says.
The plan of Jorge Sánchez and his companions the day before the great Canarian derby, to calm their nerves a bit and take to the field, is to “go to Gerona”. “I’ve gone to see Granca three or four times there and I like the city, but the real plan is to cheer on the team.” That will be tomorrow, against Lenovo Tenerife, CB Canarias, a club dear to him and which the Claretians will face for the first time in the quarterfinals of the KO tournament.
“I believe that anything can happen in a match. Man, Tenerife today I think they have more team than us, more bench, but in a Cup… The proof is in La Coruña, that we reached the final (2016). The circumstance can be given. I am satisfied with reaching the final, and if Tenerife wins, then let them come. What I never want is a Madrid-Barcelona final, which this time there will not be.” He prefers not to make a forecast, but trusts his team’s form to play the semifinal on Saturday.
“In 2000 I was 50 years old and now I am over 70, so imagine. I don’t experience it differently, but what I can’t do is see it on television. I have to see it live because if I don’t get upset a lot”. Perhaps that is why he strives to always be there, and if it is in a Copa del Rey, even more so. The one in Badalona will be his fourteenth with classified Granca. Being present is your triumph.