|The world's heaviest Ferrero Rocher|
However, every 4 years my soccer soul awakens and stirs like that of a moulting cicada in DC. I resurrect from my soccer slumber and for a month straight I live and breathe World Cup. This frenzy is shared by all my fellow Italians, of course, which brings me to the third rule of the Drive Your Italian Hosts Crazy series.
Rule #3: When the Italian National Team is playing, praise or just shut up.I'm sure you're thinking Rule #3 applies to most countries, and of course you are right. However, the degree with which Italians love their national team is rather unique. In fact, I will state that the national team is the only thing that brings Italians together and makes them feel like a true nation. If this comes as a surprise, please remember that Italy is a relatively young country: We became unified only in 1861, which is 85 years AFTER the birth of the United States. Before that year, Italy was a sorry mess of a geopolitical puzzle of hate-filled mini-states and kingdoms, who only came together as one country because it looked so damned cute on the map.
The result is that today Italians still hate Italians from any other area, region, province, city, town, neighborhood, street, floor, etc. Except... when the Italian National Team is playing. Then we're all together, waving the tricolor flag you will never see us waving at any other occasion. We're finally patriotic, just like you Americans, or, what the heck, even the French!
For an Italian, the national pride is surprising and intoxicating, like discovering your family loves you and will also leave you a fortune in inheritance one day. Now that I think about it, it does really feel like family... A family where Italians are all proud parents of 23 wholesome athletes who can do no wrong... Well, except losing a game, of course. Then united Italy and its flag can go fuck themselves.
|Look at our boys, all grown up!|