28 October 2002

Il Derby - Pt. II

Flares, insulting signs and songs, tear gas, joy, despair, and little bottles of coffee flavoured liquor. I become a laziale for a few hours.

So me and my two girlfriends had a plan to get into the stadium for free through a friend of theirs that works at the stadium gates. He was suppose to call us at 5 pm to let us know which gate he would be working at. He calls before then to let us know that due to a planned heavy police presence, he can only get in two of us, and even that's not a sure thing. Ack. We decide to give it a go anyway, and head off for the stadium at 6pm. We park the car and find a scalper. After some debate amongst ourselves, we decide to buy the tickets at 40 Euro a pop and if our friend can get two of us in, the other will sell two of the tickets and use the third to get in. We also buy a few cafè borgetto from a vendor who gives us a fourth one for free since we're cute. Cafè borgetto are small vials of coffee flavoured liquor. After one each, we are already feeling a bit toasty.

Me and the girl that's Mr. Stadium Worker is a bit sweet on head off to find the gate he's working at in distinti ouvest. I shove her in front of me and we make our way through the crowd (Italians *never* queue; it's genetically ingrained to mill about in crowds). A quick "Ciao Bello" from her and we're in. Success! We wait in line after the gates to get checked by the police. As we aren't carrying any purses or bags and there are no female police in the near vicinity, the police hesitate slightly ("Damn, I wish I could pat her down") and wave us through. I phone my other girlfriend to let her know to sell the other two tickets and where we'll wait for her. We smoke a bunch of cigarettes and split the last cafe borgetto. Our third friend finally gets in, and we head off to find some seats, with a plan to meet Mr. Stadium Worker at half-time so he can take us to the tribuna

After we climb the stairs, we realise we are in the infamous curva nord, home to Lazio's most feverent (and most stoned/drunk) fans. It's 6.30 and both curve are already packed to the gills. We head back down the stairs and try to get through to another section of the stadium. No tickets, no dice, though, and we head back up to the curva to try and scrounge some space. We find an empty stair next to some plexiglass and two currently empty seats. We are politely informed by the fans that those seats are occupied normally, but we're free to sit there until the ticket-holders show up. No problem. Being as we're three chicks in the midst of some serious fan boy frolicking, they let us stay, one of them declaring that it's a special occasion to have an American in their midst, which makes me turn bright red (my accent in Italian gets noticeably worse when I'm speaking with people I don't know). There's some serious jostling going on, but all the guys around us swear that they'll protect us if some serious shoving begins. Flags are waving, scarves are held up reverentially, the entire section is singing insulting songs about the romanisti, and various insulting banners are displayed to the opposing curva sud. I can only see the banners that curva sud is displaying, which is too bad because the laziale are generally more insulting and considerably less PC (sometimes pushing into racist territory, but that's another post entirely, as rome's two clubs have definate political leanings). The squads enter and each lazio player is cheered. A flurry of flares and blue and white smoke flares are lit not 5 meters from us; we can barely see the field for the smoke and flags being waved. We jump on our seats, singing along with the crowd, screaming at the ref, at the fouls that should have been given to Roma and the unfairness of a foul prompted by some diving poofter, at a bad pass by one of the players. We're in the midst of the rabid, the feverent, the...Holy shit, I'm going to be absolutely stoned by half-time from the secondary joint smoke. It's a bit difficult to make out who's who from this distance, as I can't see the names on the back of the jerseys and I've never been good at remembering players by their number. An attack by Lazio ricochets off the post and we groan, biting our fingers. Both teams are playing well, if a bit nervously. Neither team has quite settled down into their own personal grooves yet. The first half ends, 0-0 and we sprint down the stairs to the gates to meet our friend.

He ushers us past co-workers, into the tribuna. Here we know some people from our neighbourhood. We say hi, chat for a bit, and then find a few empty seats down in the front. No one is sitting in the two rows in front of us and the game is much easier to see from this vantage point. The second half begins and Lazio is looking tighter. Out of the blue Fiore scores one for Lazio. We start screaming and jumping and hugging. The curva and tribuna erupt in flares and smoke; from my vantage point the Laziale parts of the stadium look like they're boiling. I'm jumping arm in arm with my friend when all of a sudden I find myself flying through the air over the two rows in front of me. Thank god for dance training, because that's probably the only reason why I landed on my feet without hurting anything. I climb back over the seats admonishing the guys standing behind me to watch out and they apologise profusely. Lazio's fans still haven't settled down when Couto makes a mistake and Delvecchio scores for Roma. Shit. Now the romanisti are boiling over, returning the rude gestures given to them minutes ago. Then lazio's fans catch their breath and start singing non mollare mai (never give up, roughly translated). Roma send in Battistuta, nicknamed 'Battigol' the year that Roma won the scudetto. As one the lazio fans reply to the substitution announcent 'STI CAZZI.(who gives a fuck) Signor 'Battigol' hasn't been hitting many goals lately (Batti=hit). Then lazio's goalie rushes out of the goal to block an attack and makes a mistake. Bloody Battistuta profits and the score is 2-1. Che culo hanno i romanisti, mortaci loro. Then, miraculously, Stankovich equalizes. 2-2. boh teams are battling furiously. Then Inzaghi is fouled at the 86th minute and it's a rigore for lazio. Our celebrations are of the nervous type, now. We can't believe our good luck in getting a rigore, but it's not a sure goal. Mihajlovic takes the kick and...

It's blocked by the Roma goalie. Fuck! People start cursing Mihajlovic (zingaro di merda! ) and wonder aloud "why can't we ever win a derby, porco dio!". Lazio makes a valiant effort, as does Roma, but the game ends and it's 2 all 'round. At least we tied.

And there's still one more derby yet to go in the season.

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