ROME — Midnight beckons in Rome. It is hot and sticky in the theater of sports, but feels immaculately fresh and free.
The Catalan anthem rings out, “Barça! Barça! Barça!” A team which is the product of boys matured with a certain philosophy, a style that honors passing and movement, has come of age.
Barça Is True to Its Principles, Rob Hughes, New York Times, May 28, 2009
Barcelona took the European futbol championship last night. Oh yeah, they got the “triple” or “treble” by winning the Spanish trophy, the league and the European championship. They’re all singing “Copa, liga, y champions!”
We don’t watch or follow soccer, so we read up a bit before the match. The teams, Barca and Manchester United, were roughly evenly matched, but, I read, Manchester United was somewhat favored to win. We decided to watch the championship game, because everybody else was. No, really, everybody. On the metro last night, about threee fourths of the riders were wearing their Barca colors. And yes, if all the Barcelonans jumped off the Empire State Building, we’d go with them. They have a pretty good sense about how to live, the Barcelonans. I mean, if they jumped off the Empire State Building, most likely they’d have a nice glass of red wine, and some olives and be chatting all the way down. So mostly, we follow them around and do whatever they seem to be enjoying. It works pretty well.
But back to the game. All the bars were full. The singing and fireworks went on all night. The boy wandered out of his room following some very loud fireworks to ask whether Barcelona had scored (yes!) We let him stay up to watch the rest of the match. In the end, Barcelona easily whomped Manchester United. (It looked easy from here. ) By 5 or 6 this morning, it was almost quiet. There were a couple of confused looking fellows wandering around this morning in their Barca shirts.
Today, the team returned from Rome (where the Championship game was played,) and had an amazing parade through the city. I think it started down near the port around 6:30. They came by our block around 9 something.
By 7, their were people on the street downstairs.
Alot of our neighbors watched from windows and balconies.
By nine, when the champions came down the street, it was packed with fans, in Barca outfits, waving Barca and Catalan flags.
It’s funny, at home we are stubbornly resistant to doing things just because everyone else does, but here, far from home, where we so often don’t know what’s going on or what everyone is doing, it’s nice to join in and feel like we’re doing just what the locals are. We got out or binocs and got a good look at the players. Look like nice fellows. Especially that Messi .
Funny thing about the crowd pictures about how digital cameras and cell phone/cameras are changing the world: Every picture of a memorable event now includes crowds of people holding pocket-sized cameras above their heads in the “out came the sun, and dried up all the rain,” pose.