Sunday, December 9, 2007


Well, my *team* lost again. They have been on a losing streak since the coach recently lost his wife. It is very sad since she was only 45 years old.

As part of my immersion in Italy, I decided to be a fan of the soccer team from Florence. I had read Tim Parks book on Serie A football or calcio as it is known in Italy. It wasn't easy to be a fan, at first. Inter Milan has a much more user friendly website in English. AC Milan was the dominant team but they reminded me of the Yankees, and, that and their owner, Mr. Berlusconi are two reasons for me not be their fan. It wasn't easy being a tifosa for Fiorentina from far away, though. They only translate a few articles into English on their website. But the team color is purple and they are known as the Viola or the purples and that is a good enough reason for me.

So when I asked my niece if she would be interested in going to a soccer game when we went to Florence in May, I was surprised and quite pleased that she up for it. Before we went to the game, I went to the local fan store and bought some Fiorentinish gear, a white canvas tote with small, purple fleur di lis on it and a purple baseball hat with a small Fiorentina logo on it.

We went 2 hours ahead of kickoff time, because I read the ticket wrong. They played Cagliari and beat them. Unfortunately, their star player, Luca Toni didn't play but I did see him in his street clothes being interviewed for TV on the pitch.

Most amusing were the fans of the opposing team. You can see them in their special section, all barb-wired off. They had lots of synchronized arm movements with their chants, and the Fiorentina fans would respond with their own chants.

It was great to be part of the local scene for the afternoon, and thereafter, whenever I wore my Fiorentina hat or carried my bag, Italians would think that I was from Florence. Even though my niece thought they were trash talking in Bologna and Naples (And, I wouldn't wear any of it to Siena, because, I'm sure they're not over their defeat by Florence when they were city-states). She doesn't speak Italian but she told me she could tell. And it could be true. All I know is that one Sunday morning in almost no traffic, as I was crossing the Via Nazionale in Rome, a car stopped for me. Yes, stopped for me in the middle of the street. Though I was prepared to just hold up and let him go by in the way pedestrians weave in and out of traffic to cross the street. I nodded my head to the driver in thanks and just wondered if it had something to do with that Fiorentina bag I was carrying.

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