Dying on Sunday at the sports bar

Hotpot football has also destroyed the magic of the sports bar.

Ligurian-Piedmont Apennines, 700 meters above sea level (but it could be anywhere). End of November. Pale sun, cold air from the sea and a few clouds. half past one in the afternoon. Empty place, except for a few familiar faces in front of the only bar. Fewer than usual. Strangely few. Dry dialogues between two weekend friends.

– Is it just us?

– Did you expect someone more?

– Certainly! There are games, it's Sunday afternoon, we should be the usual ten ready to occupy two Tables, coffee, hanging out and a view of Diretta Gol.

– Excuse me, but where did you live until yesterday?

– Seven years abroad, don’t you remember what I told you a few weeks ago?

– Now I understand!

– What?

– That you were watching the games on the phone app and were so bored that you didn’t notice that Sunday didn’t exist anymore.

– In what sense?

– Wake up, boy! With a bit of luck there will be a maximum of two games at three in the afternoon! Welcome to the age of hotpot football. Anything to please the Chinese and Arabs, they don't care about us fans.

– And what are we doing now?

– You choose. Either a midfield between Lecce and Sassuolo or we go home to die on smartphones.

– Take the cards, I'd rather grab the broom!

If any of you think that this dialogue is the result of a hallucination, you are wrong. With all due respect to the fans of Sassuolo and Lecce, these freshly written lines are the summary of Sundays in the twenties. Not this one “roaring” from a century ago, but this one “depressing” from today. The football establishment is taking everything away from us. Empties us of every little joy or easy escape. It is really necessary to make a list of hardships, crazy decisions, absurd tournaments, etc. so that you understand this Drift of this sport? If you like, let's start far away, with the reform of the Champions League from one team, the champions, to four. And then we say goodbye to the Cup Winners' Cup, and once upon a time, with a calendar in hand, we expected another competition one evening a week. How do you say? Now we have the conference? Not even, thank you.

It is always played, perhaps 365 days a year (perhaps Infantino and Ceferin also expand the Gregorian calendar with the approval of the sheikhs), apart from the day itself. Sunday. At three. A black hole. Deadly boring. They are expanding cups, cups, club world championships and summer tours to ensure everyone feels satiated with football. Everyone except them, of course. Every time, we old fans who like to tease, from Ninetieth minute and in the corner in the evening we believe they have reached the point of no return. Maybe it's over, what worse could they come up with? Poor, deluded people.

Another representative of the devil and Satan is a little lamb compared to the duo stuck in the command seats. Calcium stew, it has been said. We're purists, but we got used to it coming early on Saturday night and late on Sunday. Okay, go to the game on Saturday at 6 p.m. If the right game comes out, maybe we can meet at the usual bar and then go to the pizzeria. Then came China and his love of football like there was no tomorrow. A billion people who are unable to train twenty-two players worthy of a national team and who want our Serie A! Let's give it to him.

The game at 12.30pm, Year of the Lord 2010. We try to emulate the Premier League, but we are something different. There was once a time when people played according to the seasons. In winter at 2:30 p.m., in late spring at 4:00 p.m. When we were kings, especially not now when we have to prostitute ourselves for the respective Sultan for a few pennies. Let's forget the Super Cup, there will be nothing more in Italy unless the Saudis come to play there here with us (Let's hope Gravina & C. don't read this article). The problem is Sunday. Under the pretext of television rights, they are killing cities and villages in the country.

The gentlemen don't think about it and that's what we say. Do you have any idea how many villages survive with the few places that have a TV connected thanks to the Serie A games over the holidays? How many groups of friends get together, be it for coffee after lunch or a lemonade, all against the backdrop of live football on Sunday? It's the day before the long-awaited return to work and you shouldn't take it too seriously. We indulge in laughter, memories, regrets and maybe even good wine. And the ball as accompanying music.

If there happens to be a big match or something similar, then everything changes. Contrite faces, silence, this desire to smoke a cigarette, all at once, damn, you have to wait until the end of the first half. Mockery, jokes, tension, then comes the goal. If the VAR allows it (someone destroys it). All of us, each in our own reality, be it a small town or a neighborhood, have experienced it. Let's enjoy the last leftovers, it'll all be over soon. The photography of the last few years is disarming. There is no need to look at data or numbers to understand that much, if not everything, has changed during the pandemic. Worse. Many places that were closed or placed under restrictions during Covid still appear deserted today.

Still, the weekend should be the two days you want to go out. Life. Meet again “Watch football on TV”. Maybe once. They divide it into so many segments, our dear Eupalla, that it is now difficult to understand when it is a cup and when it is a championship. They kill on Sunday afternoon, which has now become a slow torment that lasts until dinner. And while many of us shrug our shoulders in spring and start looking for alternatives, winter is no joke. In a country made up of a handful of houses, the gray and cold climate prone to depression doesn't help matters. Football was a hobby. An apology. All together passionately to spend two hours at the table. Talk about the week between one goal and the other. joys and disappointments. Hopes and lies are so big that not even in the stories of them Sports bar from Benni.

We had something for everyone and that was fine. Why we laughed without thinking on how true or, above all, presumed certain statements were. In the meantime, “Look at the goal Fiorentina scored!” or “Today we meet before the Genoa derby.”

The bar was aggregation. Not from loud fans, but from groups of friends who, even before the various lockdowns, were tired of locking themselves in their own four walls on damned Sundays. And then would you like to specify when April blooms? You don't go home when the final whistle blows. Let's wait until at least half past five, then Prosecco or Spritz and forget for a few half hours that tomorrow is Monday. In the meantime, let's take a look at the lineups between AC Milan and Juventus. And who will bring it all back to us? The party is over, the friends leave, bars, taverns, taverns close their shutters.

The week goes by slowly, the weekend was the wait for the boom. The Premier Serie A pairing also worked for a while. The English dominated on Saturday, and we dominated the following day. Maybe with Ferrari in tow, but it's better to ignore the Reds' decline. Bubbles filled glasses, hot coffee flowed into cups. Aperitifs and predictions. Pay bills and win bets.

Even the betting has changed for the worse.

The bated breath of added time, that damn post, a few “Crap” too many, then we were friends again. Another toast, the last one before next time. What no longer exists. Modern football has stifled its most beloved sons. The fans in the bar. Dark and rich bureaucrats have tied themselves not only to television, but also to the ratings of remote markets. America, Arabia, China, who offers more? We pay in the interests of those who are involved with heart, passion and wallet. What do they care about? The shutter is now coming down, but if it continues like this, who knows whether it will open again.

– Maybe it was a coincidence. Next week we'll go back to old times.

– It is clear that you are an inveterate dreamer. There is no turning back, remember!

– So how do we all spend our Sundays together, we pub guys?

– Good question, my friend. That's a really good question…

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