One unusually mild November afternoon in Florence, I was visiting the wonderful artist, William Kelley, to see one of his finished paintings. Sitting out on his roof terrace with wonderful views of the Duomo and the surrounding hills, sipping on some yummy red vino, thinking how hard life was; by the end of our conversation I was well-oiled and headed home feeling very content with life.
Taking advantage of this situation, my flatmate suggested we get tickets for a football match at the weekend. In any other situation, my response would have been one of laughter and ‘ha, that’s a good one…obviously no grazie.’ However, the rose-tinted wine glasses were on, and I was as keen as a green bean.
So one chilly Sunday evening, wearing all of my clothes (partly for warmth, partly because if things got out of hand, as they may well do at a football match, I would be well-padded if any fists came my way), I prepared myself for an evening watching some people run around a pitch with a ball. I was wishing I had a flask for tea; an idea my flatmate scoffed at, since ‘that’s not really the done thing’. Rude. Well, if I couldn’t have tea, at least we could face-paint ourselves…another step too far for him, so I would have to make do with some sandwiches -at least then I would have a couple to munch on during times of boredom.
Despite my doubts, the evening was relatively fun. I’m not going to lie -I couldn’t even tell you the score now, let alone what actually happened during the football playing, but the occasional chants and songs (which I was wishing we had rehearsed before going, as I felt very underprepared) were a source of entertainment. The main source of entertainment was the old, Italian man in his green hat sitting next to us. He was very passionate about all occurrences, would continuously yell at the referee and at others around, engaging them in his thoughts and instructed us when it was time to stand -for what exactly, I will never know, but I did not feel I should anger the man in the green hat, so dutifully stood .’Meno male’, or ‘just as well’ was expressed with a great flurry of hands every time Fiorentina prevented an opposing goal, followed by a communal murmur of ‘Sì, sì meno male.’ Note to self for next football match.
Thank goodness Fiorentina won, otherwise, who knows what would have become of the green-hatted man, or us for that matter.
Life lessons learnt: Football matches aren’t as dull as I had previously thought, although I maintain that the matches would be 100 times more thrilling if minus points were dished out every time the ball was shot off target…I would have looked even more overjoyed in the below photo if that were the case.