Are You Ready For Some…Calcio?

by L'Oreal Thompson (Loyola College)
CALCIO. FUTBOL. Soccer. It doesn’t matter how you say it. In Italy, it translates to one thing: religion. Italians may not be known for their patriotism, often pledging allegiance to their region or city rather than the country. But if there is one thing strong enough to unite these hearty people, it’s soccer.

The 2006 World Cup Champions aimed to defend their title in a match against Holland last Monday night. Caffe del Corsso, Cagli’s infamous wine bar, was packed from lime green wall to lime green wall with local soccer enthusiasts young and old devouring every second of the evening’s game. In a word: intense.

Every time Holland scored a goal or there was a bad call against our beloved Italia, mayhem ensued. The petite 20-something year old woman in front of me with the nose ring jumped up and slammed her chair after one of Italy’s players missed a goal. Moments later, the man next to her stood up and loudly cursed the referee in Italian, gesturing wildly. Meanwhile, the little girl in the pink started screaming, too.

Despite its best efforts, Italy lost 3-0.

Un disastro,” muttered an elderly man to his beer.

What a disaster, indeed. The next day you would’ve thought a national tragedy had occurred and, in a way, it had. All of the townspeople seemed to be a little more somber, mourning the loss of an important game.

Watching soccer in Europe always makes me a little envious. I want that, why not me? If I were back in the States right now, I would be enjoying an O’s game with my sister, eating hot dogs and peanuts—America’s favorite pastime. Sure, baseball has the ability to unite a city or two. But what about an entire country?

That’s something I’ve only seen on this side of the pond.