Italians are very, very into their football, and I will say that I have become quite the AS Roma fan myself. We went to our first football game at the Stadio Olimpico to watch Roma play Genoa. I grabbed a hot dog with ketchup and took my seat in the stands, entranced, and excited about what was to come. I was suddenly overcome by the enthusiasm and spirited shouting going on around me. People were waving Roma flags and scarves and singing the anthem from every bone in their bodies, with more pride than I’ve ever seen. The game flew by, and I was gripping my seat. The opposing side was banging on their drums the whole game, while Roma was chanting and cheering, hoping that at least one of our players would score to break the current 0-0 score.
Study abroad students enjoy the atmosphere of Stadio Olimpico.
It was within the last few seconds of the second half when we finally scored. As soon as the ball cleared the net, the crowd went wild. Fans all around me flew out of their seats, jumping and screaming -- flags and scarves being thrown in the air. Families hugged and kissed, and tears of joy melted away their previous disappointment. However, the festivities were cut short as the umpire blew his whistle and revoked the goal. Suddenly there was shouting, and then more shouting. The fans were outraged at the offsides call, and some even began rioting near the other fans. Security had to hold people back as angered fans couldn't believe the game had finished in a tie.
Study abroad students love to experience the Stadio Olimpico
I left the stadium after the game -- which lasted an hour and a half compared to the droning 4-hour American football games we have back at home -- entranced by what I had experienced. So amazed by what I had just encountered, I booked tickets for the game a few weeks from then and headed out to buy myself an AS Roma scarf. I showed up to the game the following two weeks wearing my red and yellow scarf proudly around my neck. And of course, had to hold it up during the anthem, hotdog in hand, scarf in the other, beaming like a proud Roman. Never have I ever been so invested in a sports game. I would highly recommend that everyone goes to a football game at least once when they are in Rome – it makes American sports pale in comparison.
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