Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Flares For The Dramatic

"MILAN, Italy (Reuters) -- The Champions League quarterfinal between Inter Milan and city rivals AC Milan was abandoned after 73 minutes on Tuesday after Milan keeper Dida was struck by one of dozens of flares thrown down from the stands." [More...]

And they say Americans are crazy fans...hey, at least the only things we throw at our players are paper cups (and sometimes batteries, chairs, beer bottles, sneakers, snowballs and soda).


At 10:55 AM, Blogger Don Fiedler said...

I've actually been in the stadium where that happened, albeit for a regular season, Italian-league game between Inter and Brescia (starring legendary choker Roberto Baggio). Let's just say it was one of the top sporting experiences of my life. The passion and the chanting and the cursing and the italian-style gesticulation, plus the fact that you can actually hack butts in the stadium. it's jusst an outstanding atmosphere.

that being said, they're absolutely crazy and i can see how this horrific disaster can get started and get out of control. the teams ask for it by reserving portions of the stands exclusively for "ultras", the super-supporters who tend to be xenophobic, racist, facist or anything in beween. the clubs support this by basically admitting that they can't be conttrolled under normal means. they isolate them in the stands and surround them with helmeted riot cops who basically let them fight it out in the stands as long as they don't interfere with other fans.

throw in the fact that inter and ac milan play in the same stadium and thus each have their own ultra supporters AND the fact that this was the champion's league, which is the biggest possible stage for club soccer in the world, and you have a recipe for disaster. it would be like having the yankees and mets playing in the same stadium all year round, each with racist, drunken bleacher creatures at a world series game with little or no crowd control. plus, this was inter's "home game" of a home and home series. inter is the mets version of the rivalry and haven't beaten ac milan in 4 years. so when they scored a goal to gain momentum and they were robbed by the ref, they exploded and went nuts.

and that, my friends, is when brazilians get bombarded by pink, flaming fireworks. naturally.

the game i went to was great though. amazing, enormous stadium and italians being italian = great fun.

(note: the fact has not escaped me that no one probably cares about this at all and i'm just showing off how much i know about european soccer. however, i thought the full explanation got short schrift in the sports pages you might read. plus, i'm super gay.)

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Matty Mac said...

Growing up playing soccer and being a lifelong soccer fan, it has been a dream of mine to get trampled in a European soccer riot. Alas, it hasn't happened yet. In high school, my coach was an Italian national and I think at times he thought we were in a UEFA match and not a Catholic League game. He was a hairy and fiery man, so it never surprises me when these things happen.

If the goalie had a full name, rather than just Dida or whatever it was, I think he would have been spared from the flare.

My question is: How did so many people know that it was "Bring a Flare to the Game" day? Were they giving them out?

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Great stuff, Donnie. If people don't like your back story, then they can eat my shorts. I appreciate the back story, so my shorts are still intact thus far.

--Roberto Garbaggio

At 8:32 AM, Anonymous SpanishMiguel said...

I was actually watching the game when it all happened. I'm so cool!!!


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