By Pietro Arrigoni
(ITALIAN VERSION BELOW)
Across the greater portion of Europe, soccer is the number one sport for many countries. The popularity of the sport has brought thousands of professional players to compete in various leagues around the countries, many of which have become extremely competitive.
With the creation of professional teams and leagues, fans also started supporting their city’s team, or a team their entire family supported. But being a fan used to mean much more than just cheering your team on on game day.
In countries like England, Spain, Italy, and Germany, being a fan is a whole different experience. Imagine walking to the beautiful stadium in your city, entering this sacred space with so many people who share the same passion as you, and then chanting and cheering your team on with so much intensity that you most likely will lose your voice. This is what being a fan means, it’s culture and tradition, and it is a huge part of the sport.
In the early months of 2020, as we all remember, the Pandemic really started to take off. From one week to the next, millions and millions of fans around Europe were told that the entire season would be suspended and that there will be no games throughout most of the summer as well. For some people this was already a huge shock. However, in many ways, the worst was yet to come. In late August of 2020, when most competitions resumed, it was announced that they would be behind closed doors, with no fans in the stands.
I remember hearing about this on the radio that my family likes to listen to, to keep up with Italian news. At the moment, it felt unreal that they would play in empty stadiums. Growing up, I experienced the very atmosphere of being in a stadium full of fans, and every match I watched on the TV had fans chanting and screaming in the background.
I find it hard to properly describe how wrong it felt at the time to see my favourite team play in front of no fans. If one has never experienced first hand what it’s like being in a packed stadium, I don’t think it’s possible to really comprehend. However, this was going to be a long term fix, as we would come to find out nearly seven months later.
Now we know what it was like for the fans, the greater part of the soccer community who live and breathe soccer, but what is it like for the players? Players have also felt the effects of this change, in the better and worse.
There are some positives I feel the players won’t like to share with the press about playing in front of no fans. For a first, let’s say you are playing away from home in front of a wall of thousands of fans who just want to see you fail that night. Mentally, I feel it’s much easier to gain confidence and stay sharp, as a player, when playing without fans. No one to judge you, yell at you, or whistle when you play poorly.
On the other hand however, teams draw energy from their fans during games they play at home. Players get motivated by the fans and actually can improve their performance quite a bit if they are backed up by their fans and more confident. So without any fans, the away fixtures have lost their stigma and don’t seem to be as taunting, which has created the opportunity for some great upsets.
In a way, empty stadiums have created a sort of “neutral zone”, where teams play each other at home and away but without the advantage of being the home team. Of course, players from every league have told the press that they miss their fans and that these are tough times, but it's impossible to have anything else but this at the moment. With the pandemic still at large and vaccines slowly making their way to immunize the community, it seems empty stadiums are going to remain the trend for the second part of the 2020/21 season.
Calcio: Come la Pandemia ha cambiato lo sport
Per la maggior parte delle nazioni europee, il calcio è lo sport più praticato e seguito. Essendo così popolare, in giro per l'Europa si sono formate numerose leghe di calcio nel tempo di prosperità della seconda metà del secolo scorso, portando migliaia di calciatori professionisti a competere con le loro rispettive squadre.
Con la creazione di queste squadre e campionati, diversi appassionati di calcio nella comunità cominciarono a supportare le squadre locali delle loro città, formando vere e proprie tifoserie. Prima della pandemia, essere un tifoso era molto più che guardare la partita della propria squadra in televisione.
Nei paesi che hanno i campionati migliori, come Germania, Italia, Spagna, e Francia, essere un tifoso è un'esperienza unica e ricca di tradizione e cultura. Prendiamo come esempio lo stadio della squadra del cuore: un posto sacro per i tifosi, nel quale ritrovarsi ogni fine settimana per incitare la propria squadra alla vittoria. L’atmosfera degli stadi Europei e non solo, che ospitano con facilità diverse migliaia di tifosi, è semplicemente incomprensibile per chi non l'ha mai vissuta.
Se torniamo ai primi mesi del 2020, in cui la pandemia ha dilagato e velocemente messo in ginocchio il mondo, ci ricorderemo dell’inevitabile sospensione di ogni attività sportiva professionale. Per i tifosi questo fu sicuramente uno shock, ma pensando alle diverse componenti della crisi era la cosa giusta da fare. Il peggio però doveva forse ancora presentarsi. Infatti, verso la fine di Agosto quando i campionati ebbero il via libera per riprendere, fu annunciato che gli stadi sarebbero rimasti chiusi al pubblico.
Personalmente mi ricordo benissimo quando per la prima volta sentii la notizia. Inizialmente non ci potevo credere. Per tutta la mia vita, ho vissuto l’esperienza dello stadio ed ho sentito le voci di migliaia di tifosi attraverso la televisione, perciò rimasi a bocca aperta. È alquanto difficile spiegare quanto pensai fosse sbagliato chiudere le porte degli stadi ai tifosi al tempo, ma questo cambio provvisorio sarebbe diventato in fretta la norma del calcio in Europa.
Certo, i tifosi sono la maggior parte della comunità calcistica, ma i calciatori, quelli che sono parte attiva dello show, come si sono sentiti a giocare in stadi vuoti?
Ci sono entrambi aspetti positivi e negativi per i giocatori, che involgono il vantaggio di giocare in casa. Quando una squadra gioca in casa, ovvero nel proprio stadio, ha la maggior parte degli spalti occupati dai propri tifosi. Per questo, durante la partita, i giocatori possono utilizzare l’energia e l'intensità’ che i tifosi creano con i loro cori e quindi giocare al meglio.
Al tempo stesso però, la squadra che gioca fuori casa verrà fischiata e denigrata dalla maggior parte dei tifosi, e questo rende più difficile la parte mentale della partita. Senza tifosi, il vantaggio di giocare in casa è essenzialmente inesistente. Per paragone, è come giocare in territorio neutro, la terra di nessuno, dando a squadre minori la possibilità’ di ribaltare le aspettative.
Dopo quasi sette mesi da quando i campionati hanno ripreso, ci troviamo nella stessa posizione: con stadi chiusi e senza la presenza dei tifosi. Indubbiamente ci sono stati dei miglioramenti, con i vaccini che stanno iniziando l’immunità di gregge in Europa. Tuttavia, questa sembra che resterà’ la normalità ancora per qualche tempo
FEBRUARY 12 TO MARCH 11
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 1:00PM MST
FROM THE RENAISSANCE TO THE ITALIAN FACTOR
A Talk by Sociologist Francesco Morace
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 5:00PM PST
Online via Zoom
In this webinar Italian sociologist Francesco Morace will identify and present values and behaviours that, taken together, constitute the Italian Factor. Especially in this Covid phase of radical change, these elements might prove to be consistent with the new paradigms of the future: Unique & Universal, Crucial & Sustainable, Trust & Sharing, Quick & Deep.
This webinar is presented by the Dante Alighieri Society of BC.
Italian sociologist and writer Francesco Morace is the founder of Future Concept Lab and a consultant for Italian and international companies and institutions. Among the most established trend experts, he was professor of Social Innovation at the Politecnico di Milano and of Culture & Lifestyle at the Università di Trento.
He is the director of the Festival della Crescita, an itinerant event that each year brings together citizens and institutions, companies and creatives, students and professionals.
He is the author of over 20 books, including Il bello del mondo (Egea, 2019) and La rinascita dell’Italia (Egea, 2020).
Free admission (donations welcome).
To register click here .
Directed by Luca Della Grotta, Francesco Dafano . Animation - Italy, 2020, 88 '
Even waste has a soul, even waste deserves a second life
Even trash has a soul and deserves a second chance. A better life.
The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto present the children's animated adventure feature and its accompanying virtual exhibition, Trash.
Monday, February 15 | 11:00PM PST
FREE EVENT | REGISTRATION REQUIRED | LANGUAGE: English
Boxes, bottles, cans. Garbage. Abandoned everywhere: on the streets, under bridges. Ignored by everyone. Motionless. Until nightfall…Slim is an old cardboard box. He lives in a marketplace with his friend Bubbles - a soda pop bottle - and other friends. Resigned to his fate, he doesn’t believe in the legend of the Magic Pyramid: a magical place where it’s possible for all garbage to have a second chance, to be once again "carriers", useful to themselves and others. His life changes when a small box, Spark, interrupts his routine. Spark is lost and he is different from everyone else. Spark involves Slim and his pal Bubbles in an adventure that will take them a place that will introduce them to the magical night world of waste. But someone is looking for Spark. An old and very powerful unused PC named Kudo, Lord of the Landfill. When Spark is captured, Slim will try to save his friend, making a choice that will give new meaning to his life.
Note: The film will be available for 24hrs, until 2:00PM EST, Tuesday, February 16
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR DIGITAL TICKET
BIG NORTH (Il Grande Nord)
Italy, 2020, 80 mins.
This documentary directed by Dario Acocella revolves around 40-year-old Italian award-winning author Paolo Cognetti (Premio Strega 2017 for The Eight Mountains), who embarks on a journey in the footsteps of those writers who helped influence and inspire his career as a storyteller. Amongst his beloved masters are Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Henry David Thoreau, Raymond Carver, and Alice Munro. Paolo’s trip takes him through British Columbia, the Yukon, and Alaska, where he explores the relationship between mankind and wilderness. He meets the people who are currently living in the woods and explores the origins and controversies of their choices.
Big North is a philosophical and visually stunning road-trip documentary that will let you explore this part of the world (a lot of it filmed in BC) with a fresh (and slightly Italian) perspective.
Info and tickets: https://2021.victoriafilmfestival.com/films/big-north/
Italy, 2020, 97 min.
Voted the funniest Italian film of the year by the Syndicate of Italian Journalists, KIDZ is a sharp knockout comedy about the pressures of child-rearing in uncertain economic times. Sara (Paola Cortellesi) and Nicola (Valerio Mastandrea) are married and in love. Their lives seem to be perfect: they have an angelic six-year-old daughter, thriving careers and a stable marriage. The balance in their lives is disrupted, however, by the arrival of their second child. Sleepless nights, selfish grandparents, friends that are about to have a nervous breakdown and questionable babysitters all combine to transform the couple’s life into a living hell.
Directed by Giuseppe Bonito, KIDS is a playful and uproarious comedy that constantly pulls the rug out from under you.
Info and tickets: https://2021.victoriafilmfestival.com/films/kidz/
The 2021 Victoria Film Festival is taking place between February 5th & 14th. It is a virtual festival, there will be no in-person events.
The 2021 VFF Online is only available for residents in British Columbia.
This event is presented by the Victoria Film Festival in collaboration with the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Toronto.
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