Tag Archive: Don Bosco



Will the Santa Sabina player score with the keeper down and the net gaping?

Will the Santa Sabina player (in white) score with the keeper down and the net gaping?

La palla è rotonda. “The ball is round.” It’s a common saying about soccer. It means that anything can happen. That wisdom is backed up by stats; Chris Anderson and David Sally, in The Numbers Game, cite several studies demonstrating that “soccer is the most uncertain of the team sports” (Ch. 1). The underdog prevails much more frequently in soccer than in basketball, baseball, or American football (10-15% more of the time). It was certainly true this week at Don Bosco in Perugia.

Wednesday was the first semifinal of the small four-team “G. Modestini” memorial tournament (2nd edition) for giovanissimi born in the year 2000; the teams had all played each other once to determine the order of the knock-out round. Don Bosco (rossi squad), Santa Sabina, and Nuova Alba all had 6 points, and Ventinella had 0, but due to goal difference, Nuova Alba was tops, and so they played no. 4 seed Ventinella, who did not score a single goal in regular time of any match. Somehow, after a 0-0 semifinal, Ventinella beat Nuova Alba 4-3 on penalties to reach the final.

And that would not even turn out to be the craziest game of the tournament so far.

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Lucky Bounces

JakePlayer2Those of you who don’t follow soccer may be happy to hear that the boys’ season is almost over (will Foss ever stop writing about it?). All regular games will finish by the end of April, and May is reserved for various tournaments.

The past few weekends, they have settled in, and Jakob and Micah have begun scoring.

About a month ago, Jakob scored his first goal, but he hit it hard and high under the crossbar, so after it bounced across the line and back out, players weren’t sure it went it, so they kept on.

The Ghost Goal

The Ghost Goal

A week later, he scored his first official goal in an Italian match, nodding in a soft header at close range after it glanced off the keeper’s gloves:

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Il Bartoccio – different versions of this Perugian character can be seen throughout the city. This is our local Via dei Priori version.

This weekend marked the end of Carnevale celebrations in Perugia. For much of February there have been parties and parades, and it seems that each district, school, and club in Perugia had their own celebration. As with other festivals, like Epiphany, Perugia has its local traditions when it comes to Carnevale. People dress up, especially kids, but costumes are not elaborate (like in Venice) and there is a certain pride associated with the do-it-yourself look. In keeping with Umbria’s rustic image, the traditional Perugian ‘mask’ of Carnevale is Il Bartoccio, an old farmer from the Tiber River valley. Il Bartoccio appears in Umbrian literature as early as the 1600’s. He is “rozzo, ma sagace, gioviale e saggio” (“uncouth, but shrewd, jovial and wise”).
Il Bartoccio is credited with the first satirical attacks against the ruling classes. In the 1700’s his character was banned by the Vatican (Perugians were always at odds with the Papacy) but he was brought back after the Risorgimento (unification of Italy) in the 1860’s. Today he is considered a symbol of Perugia.
On Saturday, we had our chance to parade with Il Bartoccio as Jakob’s class celebrated Carnevale on the Via dei Priori.

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Francesco’s autograph


The pennant

This Wednesday was a holiday in Perugia for the patron saint San Costanzo.  I was looking forward to having a day off from school and sleeping in, but my soccer coach organized a trip to Rome for the day with my team and his other team, the 2004s.  We were supposed to go to see one of the practices of AS Roma and then we would have a private conference with the Pope in the afternoon.

So I somehow managed to wake up at 4:45 in the morning and crawl onto the bus with my sack lunch. It took us forever to get there because we had to stop  for kids to get snacks and have bathroom breaks. We got to Trigoria at about 11:00 but the practice didn’t start until 11:30.

Once the practice started, I was surprised at how simple it was. They did running drills for the first 20 minutes and then they just did scrimmages for the rest of the time.  After the practice they gave each of us a pennant and a hat. Then as the players were walking off we could get their signatures.  We left soon after that and we went to one of Don Bosco’s churches for lunch.  Like I said, we were supposed to go see the Pope in the afternoon but for whatever reason we didn’t. Instead, we went to the center of Rome and saw the Colosseum where we had a team picture. Soon after that we got back on the bus to go home.

I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see Papa Francesco, but I did get Francesco Totti‘s autograph, so I guess that’s just as good.

The Excursion (in Italiano)

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Simon’s Strike


The moment before

Saturday we returned from five days in the Bay of Naples (which will eventually generate several posts). After stopping at Tivoli on the way back to visit two monumental garden-villa complexes (yet another post), we arrived in Perugia just an hour before Simon was due to be at Don Bosco for his soccer game that day. We were all tired and a bit creaky and cranky as we shuffled down to the fields for the game.

Not knowing whether or not Simon would make it, the coach hadn’t put him on the team sheet, but various defections in the squad (for illness, birthday, etc.) meant he had a chance to play. The opponent was Nestor Calcio, a tough opponent who had beaten Passignano 12-1 (and Passignano had beaten Don Bosco 5-0!). With Don Bosco near the bottom of the table (see below), it looked to be a tough afternoon. After a barrage of shots from Nestor, including three off the post or crossbar, and a great many complaints from the visiting parents about offside calls, Don Bosco went ahead thanks to a beautifully taken strike by our right winger, Jordy. At halftime, Simon went in to play his usual right-sided defensive midfield spot, but soon Nestor had taken the lead thanks to a long-range blast and a free kick that bounced in front of our keeper, fooling him.

As the game passed into added time and still hung in the balance, Don Bosco won a free kick on the right side. Pushing the entire squad into the box in hopes of an equalizer at the very end of the match, coach Titoli asked Simon to take the free kick, from about 40 meters out. Here’s what happened:

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Micah shares biscotti

Would you like one?

Would you like one?

Micah participated in a ‘piccoli amici‘ (‘little friends’) soccer tournament at Don Bosco this morning, but most of all he was looking forward to sharing the biscotti (cookies) we had bought before the match. It is common for parents to bring various snacks and drinks towards a communal post-match merenda (snack). On this occasion, Micah carried the tray around for at least 20 minutes trying to make sure that everyone had a chance at a treat. The biscotti come from the “Bar and Pasticceria dell’Accademia” down the street; it’s a classic establishment run by two elderly gentlemen. Sometimes we have returned home late around midnight and we can tell they’ve already started baking for the next day, since the lovely scents of baking dough, flour, yeast and sugar are wafting down the street. I think Micah was a little disappointed when he had no more biscotti to hand out.

All gone...

All gone…

There were two matches today; Micah scored a poacher’s goal on the last play of the game off a corner, with an assist from his friend Manuel. It took a second or two to realize what he’d done (see the delayed reaction).

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