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Balaclavas mask friendly faces
The Zapatistas are ever conscious of public relations, demonstrated by the sophistication of their Centro de Medios Independientes and accompanying website. The site, in fact, has published the correspondence between Marcos and Moratti. In a rambling, amusing message, Marcos suggests two games—a tie—played in Italy and at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) ground in Mexico City ("Marcos: Let the Games Begin," 25 May):
Moratti, in equally eloquent fashion, ripostes:
Caught up in the fantasy, Marcos demonstrates why he has helped make the 11-year-old indigenous-rights movement a cause célèbre in Europe and the Americas. He suggests Diego Maradona as referee with former Argentine international and writer Jorge Valdano as an assistant; Uruguayan authors Eduardo Galeano and Mario Benedetti would offer commentary. Valdano, for his part, has agreed, and the star of Mexico's women's team, Maribel Domínguez, has said she would play for EZLN—presumably sans balaclava. "If there's an opportunity to be there it is a good cause," she told La Jornada, the leftist paper that backs the Zapatistas (Abril Del Rio, "Maribel Domínguez alinearía con el EZLN, 'gustosa por la paz,' " 3 June). "I think it would mean a lot toward peace in the country, and that is most important." The match idea has grown out of such noble motives and from the initial interest of Inter captain Javier Zanetti, who persuaded the club to pool changing-room fines for donations that came to €5,000. "Our team doesn't just play on PlayStations and computers," said Inter manager Bruno Bartolozzi. Like Moratti, Bartolozzi can also reach rhetorical heights: "Soccer is like the fight of resistance—full of surprises."ULTRAS
Flare for campanilismo
Turin, Italy, 13 April 2005 | The fierce devotion (campanilismo) that calcio supporters give to their home side showed in last night's Champions League derby between Internazionale and AC Milan. The match
John Paul II: one who saves
Vatican City, 2 April 2005 | Karol Wojtyla, nicknamed "Lolek," had a checkered background as goalkeeper for a synagogue team in his
Update: With John Paul's funeral on 8 April, more remembrances have surfaced. UEFA.com recalls the pontiff's lifelong support of MKS Cracovia SSA and reports how Krakow's three teams—Cracovia, Wisla Kraków and KS Hutnik Kraków—joined at a Mass at the Cracovia stadium (Maciej Iwanski, " 'Reconciliation for the Pope' "). Supporters have also cleaned walls of graffiti slurring rival clubs. In his "Keeper's Blog," Peter Chapman of the Financial Times calls John Paul the "Cracow Cat." He sees in the pontiff a goalkeeper's persona, demonstrated even in boyhood: "[H]e volunteered to play in goal, a position shunned by those who seek membership of that larger, safe and largely anonymous community out on the field."REMEMBRANCE
Turin 2006: 'The past here is present'
Turin, Italy, 10 February 2005 | One year to the start of the 2006 Winter Olympics, memories linger of what remains a defining moment in Turin sport history. That is the 4 May 1949
Update: "We're hoping for an Olympics that doesn't fear soccer," says Giancarlo Padovan of the Turin daily Tuttosport (Andrew Dampf, "Turin 2006: Overall Readiness Receives High Marks but Smaller Problems Remain," Associated Press, 15 September 2005). Serie A matches will continue during the Games from 10–26 February, prompting concern that Italians will be distracted. A ceremony to mark passing of the 150-day threshold before the Games was delayed in deference to UEFA's Champions League schedule. "Italy is a very particular, vertical country," says Padovan. "Three-quarters of Italy doesn't know what snow is."
Someone named Flo loves the Gunners. An item from Katie Walker's Vedette collection.
Katie Walker has launched a second football-themed collection, these items exclusively for women (Edwina Ings-Chambers, "Football Fever Gets the Feminine Touch"). Although she will soon be working with Juventus of Turin, Walker's line concentrates on clothing for Arsenal and Chelsea supporters. These are relatively high-end products, with T-shirts retailing for £50 and cashmere team scarves at £500. Bikinis cost £100. Items for the two clubs are distinctive, with the Chelsea line, according to Walker, emphasizing the "glam" element, "very China White very Rod Stewart's girlfriend." Models at fashion shows are told "to prance around like they go everywhere in a helicopter" (see Fashion UK's interview). Wearers of Arsenal items, in contrast, will be "much tougher, cooler." Viewed at a certain angle, the Arsenal dress reads "I Love Arse."
Part of Walker's inspiration was research she discovered on Sheffield fans from the late 1970s and early '80s. The author, for his Ph.D., focused on supporters' obsession with clothing. Walker says:
He was talking about one boy on an industrial estate who was walking along looking for work and he looks on the other side of the street and he sees someone with a new thing like a pair of Kickers, and he said that it just made his heart leap. It was one of the most important days of his life, he was so passionate about what he'd seen and that so appealed to me because I thought that this is a fashion movement that doesn't come from magazines or celebrities, it is a fashion movement that is on the street.
Those were formidable years. Italians were driving Vespas as the economy boomed and television became the national pastime. Rome hosted the Olympics as Fellini shot La Dolce Vita. The darkness of the war and its aftermath was, if not forgotten, at least finally absorbed. And those three beautiful men in black and white stripes, (Giampiero) Boniperti, (Omar) Sivori and Charles, epitomised a generation finally ready to look forward, not back. (Translated and quoted in Gabriele Marcotti, "Italy Mourns Beloved Charles," The Times [U.K.], 23 February)
"If I have to knock them down to play well," Charles wrote in his autobiography, cited by Hughes, "I don't want to play this game. Players have to realize the public do not pay good money to see pettiness and childishness." Sadly, Charles has become at least the fourth footballer of prominence to have died recently and to have suffered from Alzheimer's (Peter Chapman, "Deadly Ball Situation," Financial Times, 12 February). The others are Sunderland's Bob Stokoe; Scotland's manager at the 1978 World Cup finals, Ally MacLeod; and Leonidas da Silva (see 27 January 2004 gleanings entry). As part of his suggestions that football might bear responsibility for these players' dementia, Chapman writes, "As central defenders Charles and Stokoe were prolific headers of the ball. Charles would sometimes play the first half of a game upfront, nod in a couple, then retreat for the second half to keep the opposition out." But, as far as we know, the link between football and dementia in later life has not been proven.
Parma and Verona proceeded to swap a number of players. In May 2001 the Verona team went to Parma absolutely desperate for a win to save them from relegation into the less profitable Serie B. Out of 16 away games that season Verona had lost 14 and drawn two. Since I have been a season ticket holder at Verona for many years, I was on the bus with the fans going to the crucial game. They were amazingly confident. "2–1 to us," they said. "It's been fixed." Mr. Tanzi would never, they thought, allow his team to play against his own money. And 2–1 it was, Verona scoring in the dying minutes while Parma's excellent defense stood by.
At the soccer team's 90th-birthday celebration last Friday—the very day Parmalat admitted it had faked a more than $4 billion bank account—hundreds of fans gathered in the main piazza to root on the team—and Mr. Tanzi. "He put our team on the map," said Paolo Medioli, head of the team's national fan club, raising a plastic glass of prosecco sparkling wine. "He will always stay in our hearts."
Tanzi is also lauded for his modest lifestyle, consisting of "casa, chiesa e fabbrica" (home, church and factory). For more background on AC Parma, see Roberto Gotta's recent review ("Trouble in Food Valley," ESPNSoccernet.com, 17 December).
Legend has it that Totti began kicking a ball in his crib at nine months. He began playing organized soccer at age 5. He moved through four youth teams before hooking up with Roma at 17. Lazio, Roma's arch rival, wanted to sign him, but that would be like Caesar playing for the Gauls. Totti once scored a goal against Lazio and unveiled a T-shirt inscribed with the words, "Lazio, I've given you a laxative again." . . .
The Financial Times's Simon Kuper lounges with National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern, who jokes about football's lack of profitability as compared to basketball. Seemingly lacking in Stern's analysis, however, is that he contrasts a single professional organization with a social movement, as football encompasses multifarious forms that will always find cultural expression outside any business model. No doubt that basketball has grassroots appeal—in our view, the game takes its highest form at the amateur and university levels (men's and women's)—but Stern, at least in Kuper's article, views basketball solely within a corporate context.
It was the first time I'd seen Iranians all rooting for the same thing instead of arguing about "the Shah did this," "the mullahs did that." I saw a sense of unity, and I felt like this was something important. | back to top