26 October 2002

Il Derby

Rome has two calcio squads: S.S. Lazio and A.S. Roma. Tomorrow afternoon they face off.

There are two derbys every season. I've lived in this city since June '98. And have never gone to one of these epic battles. Tomorrow that changes.

The rivalry between the two squads is indeed epic. The choreography of the two curve (Nord and Sud)would inspire the most lackadaisical calcio fan to lose their voice screaming insults at the opposing team's players, fans and the refs. Tear gas is used frequently. Something is always set on fire. The Ultras (uber-hardcore fans) of each squad always fight. A Laziale friend of mine told me yesterday that tomorrow will be the anniversary of the death of a Lazio fan who was stabbed by Romanisti. I think he said 24 years ago; the Ultras have long memories. Tensions will be running high; Lazio performed dismally last year and Roma is still flaunting their scudetto win two years ago. This year Lazio is looking good, despite the selling off most of their major stars, including the long standing captain Alessandro Nesta (easily one of the best defensive players in the game, and a major fucking hottie to boot. Even I, Juve fan that I am, mourned that move). Roma's luck seems to be on the wane.

I will be in the Lazio section. Roma and their fans get on my tits, as I have stated before. I find their captain, Francesco Totti, to be an arrogant, ignorant coatto (with really bad fashion sense to boot, from the few times I've seen him in some of Rome's discos) and their fans tend to follow in the same vein. Fans of both squads will tell me that, living in Rome, I should switch my Juve allegiance to their team. But when I tell the story of how and why I root for Juve, the Lazio fans that I know are more gracious and less combative than the Roma fans. Witness the fans' reactions when winning the scudetto: when Lazio won in '99-'00, their fans celebrated with parties and such. When Roma won (after 18 years) in '00-'01, the celebrations lasted for over a week, and the number of buildings and monument that were defaced was astounding (some of which still remains.) That pissed me off. If you're going to profess that *your* team is the *true* squad of Rome, at least have a bit of fucking respect for the city herself.

So tomorrow, I will be screaming along with the Lazio fans and calling Roma players froccio and singing E Roma merda/ alè alè alè/ E Roma merda... and choking on tear gas.

And hopefully, celebrating the downfall of the giallirossi. Alè!

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