Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"The next game's at home and that's a whole new gear for the Sabres to play in."
- Bob DiCesare (I think) on 550 AM this morning.

"I love singing and frequently, and cheerfully, on my own, too frequently and too cheerfully for those who live with me. But from age fifteen on I had lost the ability to lose myself in the spell of a group song. For me every meeting was revivalist, and hence impossible.
What pleasure then, at the Bentigodi, to rediscover the crowd and it's choral pandemonium. I could, even, after a while raise my hands at the appropriate moments. Like church, the curva (curve of stadium) embraces all comers. In particular, I love the ragged end to almost all the songs and chants; you launch with great gusto unto something inanely repetitive- nella pioggia e sottio il sole, nello stadio ci sarooooo ('in rain or sine, I'll be there' - the tune is 'La Marseillaise'). You sing it once, you sing it twice, then all of a sudden it breaks off, there is predetermined end, you can never know when it is going to stop, so that someone will be left with his arms in the air when all the others have sunk away. That person looks round, amazed, faintly embarrased. I remember one time in particular a man in his forties on the station platform when we arrived in Vicenza. Bundling out of the train, the fans were yelling Vicenza Vicenza vaffanculo! and so taken with the excitment of yelling fuck off into the faces of people he didn't know, that he went on a good thirty seconds after all the others stopped. His voice at last trailed away. His face was the picture of embarrasment. Then he burst out laughing. In the football crowd one moves constantly in and out of the spell, in and out of the group, in and out of the law. Singing together you are all-powerful, singing alone you are a fool. People are aware of this. And however stupid they may be, at least the songs are not addressed to God. They are not that stupid. Then, once in the stadium, they have a definite purpose: to incite the team, to raise these mercenaries' adrenaline levels. Dark eyed, sharp-nosed, chinless and turkey necked, Captain Leo Colucci says: "For us the fans are like the motor in a car, without them we wouldn't get any mileage. It's they who give us the drive when things get tough, and if it wasn't for them I don't know how we would manage."

- Tim Parks (no relation), from A Season With Verona: Travels Around Italy In Search Of Illusion, National Character and... Goals!

Our work is cut out for us tomorrow night people: in bars, in your car, in your homes and at the game itself- we gotta make some noise. This is what we do.

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