Disclaimer: Joe should really be writing this since it is about football…but I’m going to start it and he can “revise” as necessary.
Photo: Joe with our friend Michela and her brother Alessandro who has played on the team for close to 20 years (if I understood Michela correctly).
Yes, the Italians have an American-style football league. Who knew? I thought nothing beats soccer over here. But we met a guy that used to play for the Jets (just had to be the Jets, right?) and then he played for some other team, and then he got hurt...so now he's coaching the Naples football team.
We were told that we didn’t have to buy tickets and that parking was 2 Euro. Seemed odd. When we got to the stadium parking lot, it was packed! Little did we know it was because there was a kids dance performance going on in an adjacent building. There were actually only two other people in the stadium. So we did pay 2 Euro to park, and then walked into the high-school style stadium with no gates, no guards, and no ticket-takers. We even brought our cooler of snacks and beer without any problem. I think we could have rolled a BBQ in there and started grilling in the stadium without anyone saying ANYTHING to us.
Eventually about 10 other people showed up to watch the game with us. The game was great, Naples has been undefeated so far this year. I'm sure Joe would have lots of commentary about the plays they were running, but it all looks about the same to me. The funny thing was they didn’t have a good kicker (imagine that!) so they never kicked any field goals. Which may have been a good thing because they were actually playing on a soccer field – so they tapped big orange poles onto the top of the soccer net to make an upright on the top of the soccer net. Not sure that would have worked out so well. It was a lot of fun to be watching American football in Italy.
At the end of the game (Naples won!) the players lined up and did a dance for the stadium, which was hysterical. The teams were very respectful with a sincere “good-game” line-up of high 5’s. They also chanted and cheered for the opposing team the way I’ve seen girls softball teams do in the states. Of course after all this, a few of the Italians got into a fight on the field. Yeah, Italia!!
All in all, it was a great day and a lot of fun!