Forza Fiorentina! — The Soccer Game

Fiorentina is Florence’s soccer team. I went to the Fiorentina v. Atalanta soccer game with AIFS and my study abroad classmates.

Italy is a young country that is formed of separatists –It is a country united in its disunity. Soccer (or in Europe, “futbol”) is one of the only arenas in which people come together.

(Not my photograph)

Fiorentina v. Atalanta: I got very cold from sitting down in the cold stadium during the first half of the game, so after the intermission I ditched my seat and stood between some classmates and an enthusiastic group of Italians; the man next to me waved a huge flag (It was at least 6 feet across).

During the last minutes of the game the Italians and I were intent on the score.

(Not my photo) — Rossi channeling team spirit.

My eyes were glued to the ball– and I saw it slam into Atalanta’s goal — in the next instant my world exploded.

We’d won, 2–0

The Italian guy grabbed me and literally jumped up and down with me screaming with happiness. I yelled and waved my fist in the air. In the following moment, an extremely short Italian woman had grabbed me by the shoulder and leaped up and down while screaming with joy. It was a priceless experience.

I bought a jersey before the game like many of the other people in my group.

Rossi is Fiorentina’s American soccer player — he was born in the U.S. and lived there until he was 12 before moving to Italy. He was recently injured so he actually didn’t play at the game I went to.

The stadium: Jed (AIFS staff member) warned us that the stadium is more “basic” than us Americans are used to. I don’t attend sports games in the U.S., and I thought the stadium was adorable and cool. There are huge, clear panels that separate the home team from the visiting team to prevent violence or thrown objects from hitting fans. The stadium isn’t covered either.

If anything, I admire the straightforward approach to soccer. Fans go to watch in every sort of weather (it’s frowned-upon to leave early for any reason). I’m somewhat critical of the American attitude toward sports as it is. The energy of the Europeans’ love of soccer here is tangible and so real — it’s the one thing that can bridge Italy’s divisions. Their spirit (and skill) earned my respect.

Soccer is the world’s sport. America is unique in it’s lonely pursuit of baseball and American football. Soccer is played around the world by nearly every country  — it’s the international game.

(I don’t have any photos of the game because large, “professional-looking” cameras aren’t allowed (camera’s with a removable lens). The small-camera people beat me out on this one! Check out Elizabeth’s photos of the game though.)

Tips for attending a soccer game:

  • Wear the team colours! Don’t buy a jersey if it’s during one of the cold months. I’d buy a jacket (if you don’t mind buying something more expensive) or a scarf. It’s so cold that you’ll have to bundle up over your jersey.
  • Bring a waterproof in case, it has been known to rain.
  • Don’t bring your big camera — anything “professional looking” or that has a removable lens.
  • Bring a form of I.D. — Driver’s license or passport are great.
  • Dress warmly.
  • Don’t just watch the game– watch the crowd! Try to stand next to an Italian group. It’s fun to listen to them cussing out the other team.
  • Don’t bring any knives or lighters. Don’t bring anything that could be thrown at people.

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