The Literary Salon

A free salon wherein patrons and passers-by may view or contribute ideas on literary and generally intellectual matters. The blog will strive to maintain its commitment to wit, humour and perspicuous analysis.

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Monday, July 10, 2006

Congratulations Azzuri, and some thoughts besides

Whew, what a day! I went to Little Italy on College Street West in Toronto to watch the final with two friends. Although we arrive about 3 hours before the game started, it simply wasn't early enough. Fortunately, we went to a well known nightclub (The Mod Club) which was showing the game on several big screens, accomodating an audience of perahps 200 (room was at a premium). After the place erupted following Grosso's flawless winning penalty kick, we congregated towards College West, where hundreds of Italians and Italian supporters were jumping, dancing and generally creating much noise (one woman standing on the street, I believe a French supporter, told me that she saw me playing the game. Since I was wearing an Italian jersey, I resembled a less attractive version of Cannavaro or Del Piero, so maybe she was on to something).
After some more standing, walking, and pizza, we took the subway up to St. Clair West, which is probably the #1 little Italy. The police estimated that 100,000 people flocked there, and it was PACKED! At certain points I was worried I would either get crushed or asphyxiated.

So here I am, 12 hours later and very dehydrated and tired, satisfied that my chosen team one. Concerning the match itself, it really was a game of two halves: Italy dominated the first half and came back from an atrocious penalty call (Malouda tripped himself); France dominated the second half and much of extra time. What was interesting is that Italy struck all of their penalties flawessly; they finally broke the curse of the penalty shootout (remember that Italy lost on penalties in the 1990, 1994, 1998 World Cup and the 2000 Euro Cup). For once the Italians had some luck on their side, although losing on penalties is the worst way to lose, something the Italians certainly knew. France cannot really complain since they beat Italy on penalties in 1998 and 2000, so it's somewhat fitting.

Then there's the matter of Zidane: what a tournament he had, and he led a dormant French side further than anyone expected. Sadly, his distinguished and illustrious career was sullied with about 8 minutes left with that gratuitous, abominable and contemptible attack on Materazzi. Even the French knew he deserved to be sent off, but I was shocked that of all people, it was Zidane who committed it. A player of his calibre, charisma and accomplishments should become semi-legendary, but he will henceforth only be remembered for his infamous headbutt, which has already become the butt of all jokes (no pun intended). The same thing happened to Baggio: he led Italy in 1990 and 1994 with some impressive play, but ruined it with his infamous miss in the shootout against Brazil in the 1994 final. Even today, most people remember him only for this reason, and I'm sure Zidane awaits a similar fate. Too bad.

It's hard to believe another world cup has come and gone. Although most Italians (and non-Italian supporters such as yours truly) are exultant, I can't help but feel a touch lugubrious knowing that it will be another 4 years until the next one, and the atmosphere that the World Cup creates, at least in Toronto, without equal. T.S. Eliot said somewhere that he measured out his life in coffee spoons; I measure mine in world cups. I always remember where I was and what I was doing during the previous cup and think forward to the next. I remember with some fondndess the 2002 world cup: although it was a terrible tournament, I remember I was working part-time at Chapters and was enrolled in a General Education Social Science course at York, and I also remember staying up to watch nearly every 3, 5, and 7 am (yes, A.M) matches. This time there's a hint of concern as my station in 4 years is very unpredictable: will I even be in Toronto (or Ottawa) is anyone's guess, let alone which one of my friends will be married by that point.
Forgive me if I sound like Mrs. Ramsay from To the Lighthouse.
Here's to the "undiscovered country."

4 Comments:

Blogger Douglas Chong said...

Now, I should start by saying that I am Korean. Yes, the dreaded Koreans. The same Koreans who severly crippled the Italian faithful in World Cup 2002. I will admit I have not been shy about my support for Korea beating Italy 4 years ago. With that being understood, I'm glad the Italians won. Now they can leave me alone for the next 4 years! Viva Italia!

12:08 p.m.  
Blogger Pious Labours said...

My current employer is Korean, so yay :)
Korea played really well in 2002; too bad they couldn't repeat it this year. Certainly one of the very few asian teams that can give the giants a run for their money.

2:28 p.m.  
Anonymous zelda said...

sounds like you had a great time! :)

9:16 p.m.  
Blogger Pious Labours said...

Very tiring! I was on my feet all day and must have walked 12 kms.
I like the fact that, regardless of ones allegiances, the World Cup vivifies this otherwise morose, moribund city.

9:44 p.m.  

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