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Rayo 2-0 Gimnàstic. And why I support Rayo Vallekano. (21st May. 2017)

I get it now.

I get why I support Rayo. Watching the game against Gimnàstic, I realized why my heart belongs to a working-class district in Madrid I've never been to, to a club that smears its own fans and a side that should be competing against Barcelona and Real Madrid but instead plays Reus Deportiu and Mirandés*.

It wasn't the 2-0 win. Or the incessant wave of attack after attack. Or the intricate passing patterns breaking down a resolute defense.

It wasn't Roberto Trashorras, who had one of his best games in a Rayo shirt and created chance after chance. Or Ernesto Galán, who kept Nàstic's entire left side silent. Or Adrián Embarba, who exposed right back Gerard Valentín's foraying runs forward** with pace and trickery. Or Fran Beltrán, who defended with heart and attacked with skill. Or Antonio Amaya, who calmly kept and distributed the ball. Or even Míchel and his calm demeanor.

It's because there is a fight that Rayo fans are fighting and they're losing. They stand up for a politics that they believe in and get dismissed or ignored. They stand up for local, national and international causes and the club somehow does less than a basketball team in the same city***. They prioritize eye-catching football over results and get called crazy.

That fight manifests itself in many ways. There's the ways that everyone sees - the public feuds between the fans and the board, the creative protests in the stadiums, the solidarity between the fans and the players.

But there's the subtle ways - the ones that you don't notice until you see them happening right under your nose. You notice the fans roaring Presa, vete ya! multiple times each game and not one commentator ever daring to even mention it. You see the cameras turning to the fans and you catch a quick glimpse of an ADRV 1924 poster - a fight for a time when Rayo Vallecano was not run like a business - and then quickly turn away. You might catch the rare sight of the 'k' replacing the 'c' in "Rayo Vallecano" banners. You see the cameras show the white-and-red flags depicting Rayo but rarely see the black-and-red flags of the anarchists, or the red-yellow-purple flags of the Second Republic. You look closely and see the horrible state of the seats - chipped, rusted, broken, and beyond repair.

There's even the ways that you don't see at all, like club security taking away banners altogether.

There's a fight - a fight to express opinions, a fight against a media with an agenda and private interests with money in their eyes. A fight against a club ownership that shameless tarnishes the image of the club. A fight for ourselves.

And just like the squad that plays on the pitch, we may not win all the time, but we sure as hell are going to fight.

*no disrespect intended :)

**even though it must be said that Gerard had an excellent game going forward - he easily got past Rayo's left wing and skinned Álex Moreno time and time again.

***Estudiantes, the city's basketball club, opened a school for refugee children.

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