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195 6/ The Eternal Overtime? Monagas’s Legacy In the summer of 1967, a year after the tenth Central American and Caribbean Games, the sport leadership in Puerto Rico looked quite different. Monagas, now sixty-three, might not have been old enough to retire from sport leadership, but his constant political battles over the previous twenty-five years made him a veteran. He had been on the front lines of sport and recreation during Puerto Rico’s strong push for modernization, and, like a true political soldier , his battles left a deep mark. He had been an ally of the Partido Popular Democrático and its program of social justice but had also dealt with pressing international politics. From his campaign work in the early 1940s to the development of Un parque para cada pueblo, the recreational programs of the 1950s, the centralization of the Administración de Parques y Recreo Públicos, the copr, the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organization, and finally the coordination of the X cacg, Monagas’s role in the infrastructural and programmatic growth of the ppd and Puerto Rican and Latin American sports was undeniably monumental. Yet what is perhaps Monagas’s greatest recognition came after his retirement from public office in 1967. Each year since the 1950s the copr held an event to honor the previous year’s best athletes. In 1967 copr’s new president, Felicio Torregrosa, organized the awards evening . Germán Rieckehoff Sampayo introduced Monagas on behalf of copr, followed by Torregrosa’s presentation of the night’s keynote address from former governor Luis Muñoz Marín. Muñoz Marín’s speech encapsulated all the ideological elements involved in Puerto 196 / The Eternal Overtime? Rican modernization under his legendary administration and in equating sporting achievements with the good of the nation. SayingthatatributetoMonagaswasatributetoPuertoRico,Muñoz Marín also stated that sport’s three main values—determination, patience, and honesty—were the same values that a country needed to prosper. In sport you need determination to achieve your goals, patience not to surrender to a loss, and honesty to compete fairly: “A country needs determination to decidedly and tirelessly fight for the betterment of the entire community. It needs patience because the problems we face do not get resolved just by approving a law, but require a collective effort, long term, from all citizens. Honesty— honor—because we must understand that there is not a nobler enterprise than service, without expecting a reward, for all our compatriots . Our people have fulfilled their responsibility to the fullest in both areas in recent years.”1 Muñoz Marín said he had these values in mind while supporting Monagas’s athletic and recreation proposals since 1941. He reminded the audience that in the twenty-five years that Monagas had led the sport institutions, Puerto Rico had gone from being “submerged in despair” to having a radically brighter future. All of this was due to Monagas, whose “contribution to sport and to the life of our country is great.” The work that Monagas did for the betterment of sport and recreation in Puerto Rico was representative of the temperament, achievements, and hopes of the Puerto Rican people: “A tribute to Julio Enrique Monagas is a tribute to our people. A people that insists, as we have insisted, in working hard and well, in widening and deepening our values, our democratic way of living, in the opportunities to better ourselves for all as a people with worth. A people that deserve progress and do not deserve roadblocks, but if they encounter them will know how to overcome them with the same purity as they have done before.”2 With this in mind, Muñoz Marín spoke about the recent X cacg in San Juan, describing them as the ideal way to show the world what Puerto Ricans were made of and their potential: The Eternal Overtime? / 197 We can be proud of having been hosts. Regardless of the problems that we encountered, we sponsored Games, which if not better, certainly were equally comparable with the best hosted so far in its category. Independently of the good work we did in competitions, we demonstrated first of all, that we are a hospitable people, conscious of their tradition, serious, and dedicated. But what’s more important is that we demonstrated that we are a people on the move, a people who live according to the noble exigency of the Olympic motto: “Higher, Further, Stronger.” Let...


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MARC Record
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