Rome has two competing soccer teams: AS Roma and Lazio. The rivalry between them is huge. The team you support in Rome is part of your identity.The Lazio-Roma soccer game was a few weeks ago and my friend Tighe and I really wanted to go, so we invested in the 20-euro tickets at a Tabacchi and got some of our friends to come along with us.
As I got dressed for the game on Sunday, I tried to stay as neutral as possible. Black pants, white shirt and black jacket. Could I show less spirit? Well, I didn’t want to show any. Wearing colors in support of one of the teams can be dangerous, especially for a foreigner like me who can’t speak the language.
Tighe ended up getting stuck in Milan on Sunday during his trip back from Amsterdam, so he wasn’t able to make it to the game, but my roommate Carly and I looked up the route on the bus and made our way there with some friends.
As Carly, Susan and I approached the stadium, we could hear the roar of the fans from across the street. They were all singing! In Italian, of course, so I couldn’t really understand what they were saying, except “Forza Roma!” There was a lot of security around the stadium because these games can actually get dangerous if the rowdy fans lose control and start fighting. This is another reason why we dressed neutral.
Despite my attempt to focus on the game, I kept getting distracted by the fans! Every few minutes, they would break out into a new song. The cheering seemed to come out of nowhere, then within a couple seconds, the entire stadium was roaring in synchrony. It was amazing, and so much fun! Our entire side of the stadium was dressed in red and orange, which are Roma colors. The other side of the stadium was decked out in baby blue. I found myself looking at the stands more than I actually watched the game.
When Roma scored, everybody went crazy. Several people had snuck in smoke bombs and set them off, spewing yellow and orange smoke into the air. Others had brought in giant flags, which they waved in victory, and the crowd once again broke out into one of the roaring cheers. I found myself jumping around and screaming with everyone else. The spirit and enthusiasm is so contagious!
Roma ended up winning 2-0. The second goal occurred after we had left the stadium when there were only about 10 minutes left in the game, but we could hear the celebration from the bus stop across the street. The game was so much fun, and a couple weeks later there was another game against Munich, which I also attended. There is nothing in the world like a Roman soccer game and I am now proud to call myself an AS Roma fan!