So, there it is. The game that 11 years later has me sitting at my desk in Italian 201 sweating over a map quiz. You take a couple classes and start to think you know some things, then your professor asks you to find the region of Molise and name its capital and all that confidence goes right out the window. That’s just evil. The nerve of that guy, right? Nah, he’s a good dude. In all seriousness, I’m glad that game led me to be so interested in the beautiful culture of Italy without ever stepping foot in the boot-shaped country.
The 2006 World Cup match between USA and Italy had what I needed as a fan of this sport. Pirlo set pieces, sloppy own-goals, bald American goalkeepers making huge saves, physicality, and even some blood! Yeah, that’s right. I used the words physicality and blood to describe soccer. Maybe it really is “football.” Again, I’m kidding. I’ve played both sports, they’re both incredibly tough. That joke was for the soccer haters so maybe they’ll keep reading. The game also had the controversy sports fans crave, but hate if it hurts their team. Debatable red cards and an offside call that would disallow a goal. If only we had some sort of futuristic replay technology back then to help refs make the right calls… For non-soccer fans, we have that technology now, we hate it too. Just google “VAR” if you have some free time (You’re reading this nonsense so I know you do). Guess no one can win when it comes to that stuff. Speaking of no one winning, if you weren’t sure who the winner was from that game, the answer is no one. It was a 1-1 draw because you know, soccer.
Enough about that game though, you didn’t come here to read my ramblings about sports. You came here to read ramblings about Italy and a college student’s quest to learn as much as he possibly can about the country, so one day this tweet can come true:
To this day, I’m not sure why it was Italy I was so drawn to and not any of the other teams the U.S. played that summer. Maybe I was intrigued by the sound of their fans singing their iconic national anthem and their infectious chants during the game. Or, maybe it was the look of famous uniforms of the Azzurri, the blue with the cool-sounding Italian names on the back written in gold. I’m not sure I’ll ever know, but what I do know is that I was hooked instantly. I was already fond of Italian food before, but after that day, I seemed to crave it every day. I wanted pasta for dinner all the time. If we were going out to eat, my vote was to go to an Italian restaurant. Olive Garden was basically my second home. Now a much older me knows that Olive Garden is the farthest thing from authentic Italian, but back then I couldn’t care less. Let’s be honest, even now I don’t care. You’ll never take Olive Garden away from me. You could offer me fresh, delicious, homemade Italian food or the Tour of Italy from Olive Garden and it would be the hardest decision of my life. #OGTID, Olive Garden ‘Til I Die.
After realizing how interesting Italy was that day, my next few days were spent in our school library 24/7. Every book that even mentioned anything related to Italy, I wanted to check it out. If I couldn’t find it there, I went to a public library. (Do those still exist? Hopefully, I can find that same motivation to be in a library when finals roll around this semester.) That young kid found out a lot about an interesting country. Italy is a place rich with history and culture, and as I continue to be like that young kid, eager to learn more, I plan to share what I learn and the thoughts I have about it with y’all.
That pretty much wraps up this week’s post. If you liked what you read, be sure to check out the schedule and preview tabs to stay updated on what’s coming next week. Don’t forget to leave comments and share the post as well! Ciao! A presto!