Andrés Díaz and the day after: "I had to go to the psychiatrist and nothing happens to admit it"
At 51, the still European record holder of 1,500 on the indoor track (3'33 ″ 32), is already a freelancer who is doing “reasonably well”. At his side there are a thousand things to remember such as the final of 1,500 in Seville 99 of which today marks 21 years.
Rubén Ventureira worked in ‘La Voz de Galicia’. He was in the newsroom in La Coruña on August 23, 1999 when the 1,500 final of the World Cup in Seville was played in which it literally blew up. And one of those who flew was an athlete from the land born in the Outerio Round, in the Agra do Orzan neighborhood: Andrés Manuel Díaz.
3'31 ″ 83, fifth place.
In the newsroom they did not know what to do to achieve a different piece, beyond the chronicle, and it occurred to Rubén to propose aloud:
-By than no we call to Andrew Diaz And what does the race tell us step by step?
- You're crazy? Do you think he has nothing to do but pick up the phone from you? they argued.
-I just know that if we don't try, then it will be impossible.
And he called him. Rubén called him.
It had been an hour, maybe less, since the race had finished. The adrenaline was still running high. The tension traveled in the stadium in one night for history. But then Andrés Diaz picked up the journalist's phone.
-See if you wouldn't mind.
- How am I going to care? - Andres Diaz answered.
And then that diabolical race broke out: the than lived, the than He felt, which he has never felt again perhaps.
Today, 21 years later, I have Andrés Díaz by my side, who is now 51. At our side is also Rubén Ventureira, who is now a freelance journalist who remembers that piece in which he put all the meat on the grill: he can't even it must conceal the pride of that day.
But at the same time that text reflects the way of being of Andrés Díaz who, as always when I talk about him with the mythical Gregorio Parra, reminds me that "he never had the recognition from the Spanish media and fans that he really deserved."
Even today, since February 24, 1999 in Piraeus, Andrés Díaz has the European record of 1,500 on indoor track: 3'33 ″ 32.
And there is no February 24 that Pedro Esteso, who played him as a hare in that race, does not call him to remember it or that that day is not celebrated in his house how the date of its birthday: "The last time my wife bought me a cake."
It was a great Andrés Díaz, actually. An athlete who was late for track and field "after finding out he was too clumsy for all the sports he tried." But running, he found his reason for being: the same one that at 22 was going to leave him only a few tenths away from qualifying for the 800 in the Barcelona 92 Olympics after suffering a traffic accident in April.
Today, Andrés Díaz is not only the memories. It is also the lesson that an athlete who later lived up to that autograph that he signed, while still a teenager, Steve Ovett on the Riazor track.
Andrés Díaz reached two Olympic Games and, even in Sidney's, seventh place, he discovered that he competed with a nomonucleosis, which invites us to think about what he could have achieved.
"Don't remind me, don't remind me," he interrupts.
He was then 31 years old and never again would something so marked in his athlete biography be related. Even the following year, I know stayed without club and with the bitter feeling of what I have done to deserve this and that in each race, even in each training session, it was like starting over, showing again that he didn't deserve it, damn that pressure.
His tendons no longer accompanied what caused the end of an athlete who perhaps had more prestige in the profession than popularity in the world. His best years also coincided with those of the Superdepor in La Coruña. In fact, Andrés Díaz ran the final of the Sydney Olympics a few months after Deportivo were league champions.
The fact is that today the memory of Andrés Díaz makes us better. He explains to us the need to always push forward, that it can and should be done as he discovered the day Riazor stopped being a stadium and the city was left without a running track.
Andrés, who had promised himself to always live in his city, had to go to Madrid, to the Blume residence and to fight homelessness in his own way. “There were Saturday afternoons when after training I would take the plane just to give myself the pleasure of seeing family or having dinner with friends. And on Sunday he returned to Madrid ”.
- Who was going to tell us that since then more than 20 years have passed? -Ask today.
Who was going to tell us even when we saw him now. Nobody would throw him away the 51 years he is. But appearance is one thing and lived experience is another. We then realize that we are dealing with a guy hardened in many battles, of the scars of life that, in the end, are the ones that teach the most.
- When I retired I suffered a depression and I even had to go to the psychiatrist and nothing happens to admit it. But it was so hard for me to understand that at 35 I could no longer exercise the passion of my life. He didn't know how to get out of that alley.
Perhaps because then he realized that not everything had been perfect. Athletics had allowed him to buy a house, yes, but when he was 35 years old when he went to ask the administration about his working life they told him that no had neither a alone day quoted to Social Security. His way of unburdening himself was to start studying INEF and working as a coach, "because he had the title of monitor" and there was no time to lose. It was not possible.
That has been more than fifteen years: a whole life in which Andrés Díaz returned to live in La Coruña, to see the sea from the window of the house, to start again, to discover that one could be happy in another way and that in athletics the world did not end. When he left Valdebernardo's apartment in Madrid, where he had lived for the last year, he had this doubt:
-What I am going to do? What will be the best for me? he mused.
That question that we all ask ourselves and that today Andrés Díaz, a self-employed person "reasonably satisfied", Answers in the first person:
- Yes, I admit that I am doing more or less well.
She has her place, she works as a personal trainer for people who come to her through word of mouth and who, in general, ask her for help to be more comfortable with herself or to make her body more efficient. And then Andrés Díaz gets down to work like when he started a career.
-Without practice theory is useless, but practice without theory is dangerous -reason.
Today, he doesn't even have a website and he's not a social media man either (“I felt vertigo when I started on them”). Maybe it's a way of being: yours. "I never did big advertising campaigns, because I preferred to test myself, to check that I was worth for this." And he does not lack work. "There are days when I start at seven thirty in the morning and don't finish until nine at night, I end up exhausted."
But in the tiredness he does not regret anything. Unlike. Then he reminds himself what the day he retired, when he got that depression, he would have given to be as he is today: with a life that makes you happy and in which he helps others to be happier as Ruben Ventureira found, on the other side of the phone, after the World Cup in Seville 99, just 21 years ago today, in one of the peak moments of his life in which there were spotlights and more spotlights.
Andrés Manuel Díaz, however, was already a man who always tried to say yes.