Excited crowds gathered into the street around bar fronts, and indoors the people huddled in tense circles, all eyes fixed on the television screen. I was in my apartment, where my roommates nervously gripped each other, bug-eyed and motionless on the couch. Last night Italy faced Germany in the World Cup semi-final match, a moment in time that would prove Italy’s place in the tournament and their national dignity in Europe.
The intensity rose as Italy confronted the German defenders, they moved the action onto the end of field closest to the German goalie. Two shots were
made, one hit the side goal post and one hit the top. My roommates were on fire and their fury echoed through the streets and terraces around us. Suddenly, as the tension seemed to have reached its peek, with the score 0-0 and Italy with two shots to the post, the field turned black and the players turned to snow, then, all went black. Store alarms started ringing, people emerged out onto their terraces to look at each other blankly, waiting, as the voices of angry boys rattled in the darkness below -the power went out.
It was not long before the lights flickered, the television regained its glow and the people could resume their positions. This happened three times through the course of the game, and every time sent a wave of agony followed by sweet relief. Italy finally scored, minutes later they scored again and the horns faded into victory bells.
The parade was in full swing by 12:30am. The people invaded the night, in mass. Drivers leaned on their car horns and pedestrians fired little red blow horns, screams and chants filled the air. They waved the Italian flag, formed a chorus to sing their national anthem, and saluted the stars. Children sat on top of their daddy’s shoulders waving smaller flags and blowing smaller horns. Men with pained faces ran through the street half naked, swinging their shirts above their heads, while the women cheered for their men, waved their county’s flag and trotted after their male counterparts.
I did not grow up with this kind of thing, it is foreign to me. When I lived in Spain, I first learned that futbol matches are battles, where
nations fight for the feed that fattens their egos and nurtures their national pride. The European battlefield, once the stage for political war, now a televised sporting event.
Posted By Anya Gorovets (Italy)
Posted Oct 4th, 2006