“There is a lot of the United States inside the United States”

A Coruna journalist starts a business that travels through travel literature, social and sports records

Santiago de Compostela, September 24 (Europe Press) –

Writer Fernando Mahia (A Coruña, 1990) traveled over 15,000 kilometers in just over three months with a 20-year-old minibus that took him from one end of the United States to the other to paint a picture of the North American giant under the pretext of basketball.

Three years later, this Donostia-based freelance journalist and translator captured his summer 2019 trip in the book Coast to Coast. A Journey Through the Margins of the United States Through Basketball”, the first literary appearance of the writer from Coruña who edited Contra.

“From the outside, it’s always said: ‘America is like this.’ But there are many states within the United States. It has nothing to do with an upper-middle-class town on the California coast where most are vegetarians and progressive in some sense, with a small town or city in Alabama, where they are very conservative. There is structural racism across the country, but there are more noticeable differences in those regions,” the author sums up in a conversation with Europa Press.

Over the course of nearly 300 pages, images intersect with Latino immigration in New York neighborhoods, the “holes in the world” of persecuted neighborhoods in the Big Apple, the receding post-industrial regions of the “Rust Belt,” the cultural mix of the South, and the isolation of what remains of the Native American peoples Or the prosperity affluence of the West, come face to face with the thousands of people who live on the streets of San Francisco.

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“There are entirely Latin cities, with all that that entails culturally and socially. When people think of the country, they identify it more with New York or with Anglo reality. But there is so much more than that,” he notes. .

To expose this multifaceted reality of American society, Fernando Mahia draws on two of his passions: traveling and basketball. “Basketball is the sport that allows you to include everything in America and put it into context,” he says.

“With basketball you can reach all layers of American society. It is a multicolored sport. It was invented by a Canadian, African Americans took it to another level and it is played all over the country, no matter if they are rich or poor, because all you need is a surface Fairly flat, hoop and ball,” says the author.

Thus, he asserts that in sports that are labeled “more America”, such as baseball or American football, “half of the population does not exist” because female exercise is little more than a leftover.

Women’s basketball activity

“Women’s basketball has become very important in recent years. Not only in the sport, but also on a social level, with a very active commitment to racial issues or LGTBi,” says Fernando Mahia, who recounts in one chapter of the book that the players from Minnesota Lynx were from The WNBA (sister of the world’s largest basketball league) pioneered T-shirts bearing the “Black Lives Matter” logo, long before their NBA colleagues did.

The writer from A Coruña’s journey through the North American giant allowed him to meet in person Reneldi Bisente, the first Native American to reach professional basketball and who was accompanied by Fernando Mahia in Shiprock, a Navajo Nation, in New York. Mexico.

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However, he does admit that the person who left the most impact on him throughout the journey was Lucia Harris, the first chosen NBA team. Fernando was able to converse in it on his porch with Harris who was already mired in physical ailments and over time left the best female basketball player at a time when women’s basketball was little more than a rarity.

Another issue that the Coruña writer touches on is the inequality of women with their male partners in the basketball world, who adorns the pages with the music that accompanied him in his truck on the trip: the hip-hop born in the Bronx, to the blues that came to Chicago after accompanying blacks from the South. Where it or “Americana” originated from the Midwest.

Before embarking on this journey, says Fernando Mahia, who lived for about two years in San Francisco, where he worked in a hotel located in the Tenderloin neighborhood where hundreds of people live on the streets, a few meters from the headquarters of the tech giants that serve as the engine of one of the richest cities in the world.

San Francisco, where the idea that led him to the road was born in the summer of 2019, the journalist from Coruña concluded that journey he recounts in ‘Coast to Coast’, written in his current residence, the capital of Guipuzcoa. There he is working on his new project, another travel book, in this case, closer: a walking journey through the eastern margin of Galicia, where Galician society is confused with Asturias.

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Amber Cross

"Music buff. Unapologetic problem solver. Organizer. Social media maven. Web nerd. Incurable reader."

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