Category: Pedar

Umbra Dig 2015: Settling In

We are back in Perugia just under a year after we moved back to Indiana. Some of the family had already made visits back—we have begun to help lead Smithsonian Institute Journeys Tours (Highlights of Italy [done in 2014 and again in 2015] and Gems of Tuscany and Umbria [2016]), and Pedar led a DePauw Winter Term tour for soccer players in January of this year, in which Simon participated. This summer, Simon is taking an intensive Italian course at Umbra Institute, and we are partnering through DePauw with Umbra for a new summer archaeology field school.

Summer Archaeology Class of 2015

Summer Archaeology Class of 2015

The view from the Umbra Institute's classrooms

The view from the Umbra Institute’s classrooms

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Castel Rigone, Weeks 33-34: To Morality and Beyond

28 April 2014: fans of Vigor Lamezia celebrate their salvation after their team defeats Castel Rigone to remain in Serie C.

This past Sunday, May 4th at 15:00, at Stadio San Bartolomeo, Castel Rigone played their last match as a team in the professional division of Lega Pro (soon to become ‘Serie C’ again). They lost 2-0, their seventh setback in a row. They had already been relegated the previous week. I wasn’t there to watch. The eyes and ears of everyone in Perugia were at Stadio Renato Curi, where Perugia played Frosinone in the last game of the season for one of those two teams (the team that prevailed won the league, and was promoted to Serie B). For the other side, it was the start of a tortuous 8-team playoff to determine what other squad will be promoted. Heading into the match, Perugia led Frosinone by one point, and needed only a draw to return to Serie B, where they’ve not been since 2004-05, the (first) year they went bankrupt. The previous Sunday, when Perugia earned a draw in the mud of Salerno (winners of the League Cup), the commune set up a giant screen in Piazza IV Novembre, and the songs and shouts of the fans gathered in the pouring rain could be heard throughout the city as Perugia buried a late penalty to tie the match. The outcome of the Perugia’s season appears in another post. The philosopher-chairman of Castel Rigone, Brunello Cucinelli, is not finished, however, he has a “progetto speciale” in mind (Giornale dell’Umbria, 29 Apr. 2014, p. 36) which he will reveal in 2-3 weeks. I would not be surprised if he doesn’t invest even more deeply in his vision of a new calcio, one in which ideas, form, and comportment are still important than wins or losses. A more striking contrast could not be found than with Jose Mourinho, the incredibly successful yet hard-to-like manager of Chelsea. Continue reading

Castel Rigone, Weeks 30-32: Beauty and Loss



After the rain, after the game

On April 14, we went to watch the last real chance for  Castel Rigone to climb their way into a play-out place for Serie C next season. It was another Don Bosco outing, but this time instead of a hundred people, there were about twenty. Several of Jakob’s teammates stood around the edges of the pitch as ball-boys. At first Jakob wanted to join them, but then, when the rain came, the heavy rain, he was glad he hadn’t.

The rain seemed like a sign that it wasn’t meant to be, a cruel natural inevitability that belied the team’s efforts on the field and the club’s effort in the stands. Once again, playing one of the top teams in the division, Castel Rigone played harder and generally better than Teramo. Once again, they lost anyway, haunted by a habitual slackness at the start of every half which forced them to play from behind nearly the entire game.

It had started out so brightly, on a day of palm branches, daisy-chains, tulips, and redbuds.

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Selfsational Umbria

Just saw Steve McCurry’s new photo exhibit, Sensational Umbria. Fantastic. As we left, we passed a ‘selfie’ area.


Castel Rigone, Weeks 26-29: Streaking

Kickoff between Castel Rigone and Ischia

Kickoff between Castel Rigone and Ischia

On January 5,  Castel Rigone had won five in a row and was in fifth place, solidly in place to retain a place in Serie C next season. At that point, they had 29 points. On March 23, they lost their fifth out of the last six games (the other was a draw), and have 34 points, fifth from bottom, and solidly in place to be relegated into Serie D next season.

When they were at their best, they were beating the top teams in the league; now they have lost to the two worst teams in the table. Gutted by injuries and suspensions they continue to accumulate due to too many red and yellow cards, they have not been able to keep a consistent lineup, which has shown in the stuttering linking of their play through the midfield. More and more they have resorted to booting the ball long up the field, hoping to pick up some scraps with their forwards. The last two games they even played 4-2-4, in the hopes of gaining more attacking opportunity, but with such a narrow midfield, can’t retain and build possession unless the wide forwards track back consistently for the ball. And it is a truism in soccer that it is easier to run forward than it is backward.

Well, they are streaking backward now.

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Castel Rigone, Weeks 23-25: Sliding

Scappini scoring his first goal, versus Tuttocuoio. From

I’ve been away for the last three matches, and having lacked the local newspaper, can’t give much detail about Castel Rigone’s recent struggles. With two losses and one draw, the team has slid down the table into the playout zone in 10th place.

Defensively, Castel Rigone has continued to have difficulty with crosses into the area (guilty of ball-watching and not minding the opposition’s runners). Offensively, they missed two penalties (a woeful team conversion rate of 42% for the season) which would have earned them three more points than they currently have. The team has given up an inordinate number of goals in the first 30 minutes of the game, as the Giornale dell’Umbria has recently described. Also, in each of the last two games, they’ve been reduced to 10 men after red cards, impeding their ability to mount a comeback. Finally, without the outstanding play of their keeper, Franzese, the margin of their last match might have been well worse.

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