Sunday, November 30, 2008

What would Thanksgiving weekend be without some football? Today my friend Neil and I trekked up to Stadio Paolo Rosi, a small stadium on the north side of Rome, to see the Roma Grizzlies take on their bitter crosstown rivals, the Lazio Marines. Having just finished Playing for Pizza, John Grisham's new novel about American football in Italy, I was eager to see the Italian version of the game for myself.

Just a few miles away, the local soccer team, AS Roma, was playing Florence before a capacity crowd at the mammoth Olympic Stadium. The scene at Stadio Paolo Rosi was considerably more relaxed:

The field was only 80 yards long, and the level of play was probably equivalent to that of a small college or even a good high school team. But, without incessant TV timeouts, the game was fast-paced and fun to watch. Lazio opened the scoring with a short run for a touchdown:

Roma appeared to tie the score by returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. Unfortunately for Roma fans, the TD was called back because of a penalty (clipping, I believe):

It was getting cold, and we still hadn't had lunch (Stadio Paolo Rosi having no concession stand), so we left at halftime with Lazio leading 12-0 (or 14-0; they never even attempted the extra points, so I'm not sure whether an Italian touchdown is worth six or seven points). In keeping with the American theme of the weekend, we ate at Burger King.

I hate to admit it, but I enjoyed my chicken sandwich very much.

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