If it’s a goal – Magazine Contrasti

When you think about it, there’s little point in yelling “TOR” after seeing the ball go into the net [1]. In England for example if it’s a goal a ‘YEAH’ in unison, balancing the more classic (and much more common) ‘NO’, a rhapsodic echo of missed opportunities. Let us avoid setting up the calendar of the gods in this place saints however, summoned by the Italian fans when the same event occurs.

What does it depend on Difference Linguistics? Is it pure coincidence or is there something deeper behind it? In Germany, for example, the fans they scream indistinctly and casually ‘TOR’ (‘GOL’) or ‘JA’ (‘Yes’, like the English ‘YEAH’) – and thus give us back the mixture of Italian aesthetics and Balkan musicality that is typical of German ultra movements. A goal shows the typicality and, so to speak, the nucleus of the fan environment. But nothing has been said about the event itself, nor what it represents for stadium fans.

Video by our Simone Meloni, full report of this game here

For the stadium fan, the moment of the goal is the fundamental event of his existence. And yet, paradoxically, not only the most avid fans (= ultras) deny this self-evident truth (e.g they don’t care about the game at all), but in their visceral and asymmetrical love for their colors, they reject their only real goal (in fact, the fans always are beyond the result). In this sense, the Ultras are like the mystics of Eupalla, who are so devoted to her that they are disgusted by her [2] (as happens in the dark nights of St. John of the Cross, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and St. Pio of Pietrelcina).

However, this last feature of the goal, a matter of negative theology, highlights another fundamental aspect of football: its intrinsic static. That means: Football is basically a boring sportwhere the only truly relevant event (the target) is not only very rare but often random.

‘Obviously I hated Arsenal being boring’ [3]writes Nick Hornby. Which team does not?

That’s why the goal is a miracle, an event within an event made unique and unrepeatable by the collective heart of the fans who experience it. This brings us back to the Hamlet-like doubt with which we opened this very brief phenomenology of the goal experienced in the stadium: if it’s a goal, yell “GOL” – regionally disapproved by us [4]depending on the importance of the same – it is perfectly understandable. The goal isn’t just liberation, it’s almost a shock. To the point where it needs to be pointed out, it screams to the skies for others to fully appreciate. Once said, it is done. [5]

When it’s a goal, the fear fades and joy takes over. Underneath the curve, this phenomenon apparently takes on a special colour: in the goal scorer’s race to his fans, there for him – but actually he is there for them – the true and only meaning of football becomes apparent religion from people. At the risk of sounding blasphemous: what is fusion – even physically, often – between footballer and curve if not the Eucharist of the ball? The stadium is an ekklesia, a gathering in every sense. With its own hierarchy, its own songs and rituals, its own rules.

Even with your own folklore. The jubilation of the Neapolitan fans in the Curva A is not the same as that of the Milan fans in the Curva Sud; and in the same stadium, Roma fans cheer in one way, Lazio fans in another. In England we wave our arms and wave a little awkwardly – especially since Thatcher has decided on certain rules of conduct for the fans – in Spain the Sound of the collective ‘GOL’ it’s almost deaf and cathedral-like, of a very low tone compared to the almost feminine “YEAH” typical of Anglo-Saxon football.

The impressive cheering of Gremio fans when it’s a goal

And such is the theatricality of the plot if it’s a goal it differs from country to country, from culture to culture. There’s even a football team in Brazil, Gremio, famous for the way their fans cheer: it’s famous and it’s extremely dangerous avalanche (Waterfall) banned today after the 7 injured in 2013 – the only officers, because if we look at the pictures we can easily imagine a larger number. Each of these events, from the Balkans to the South American, from the Asians to the Arabs crossing the Mediterranean, deserves a separate article. For now, suffice it to say the poet who, in order to better convey the essence of poetry, decided to describe its incomprehensibility. As well as if it’s a goalthere is on the run.

Don’t ask us about the word you’re looking at from all angles

Our soul formless and in fire letters

Explain it and shine like a crocus

Lost in the middle of a dusty meadow [6].

[1] Linguistic phenomenon typical of Latin cultures: Italy, Spain, South America.

[2] Otherwise, what is the point of the ultra leader who prefers to be in the presence of his own people, encouraging and guiding them for the good of his own team, rather than enjoying the same team at stake?

[3] Nick Hornby, Fever at 90° (Guanda), p. 33.

[4] For example, when our team’s goal in Rome raises a faint hope of a comeback, the “Daje” is not uncommon – more out of anger than joy. So the fans of Hellas they seem to be screaming ‘se’ to the long-awaited goal.

[5] This is the VAR’s real crime: stealing the goal’s wonderful and unrepeatable character. We talked about it here.

[6] E Montale, Don’t ask us to speakJuly 10, 1923.

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