I feel like I have a pretty good grip on soccer in the States.
Having watched my brother play it for years, plus playing a single peewee season myself before realizing I am completely unathletic, I know how the game works, what to look for and what to expect.
All expectations out the door when it came to my first European futbol game.
I knew it would be crazy at Florentina’s home opener against Catania Monday night. Fun fact from my Italian Fashion and Culture class this week, an Italians loyalty is first to their family, then to their hometown and finally to their country. Any would consider themselves first a Florentine before an Italian, unless Italia wins the World Cup. Then everyone is Italian.
The pride of the Florentines wreathed through the stadium as we entered after about a half hour walk from the center of the city. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, I would easily compare it to a scene of a Quidditch match, minus the brooms. Everyone, from infants to the extremely elderly, was dressed in purple and white, singing and waving their giant flags as they cheered their team to a 2-1 victory. We laughed and clapped along, trying to learn a few terms to curse at the other team during the course of the game.
A few things that differ from American sporting events:
- The announcer seldom speaks, unless something big happens
- Nobody leaves early
- The score is not projected anywhere, so don’t be late or you’ll have no idea what the score actually is
- Prepare to not understand a single thing excited natives are yelling at you as you walk home in your spirit wear