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Soccer and Society in Boston

Fans line up to see the Azzurri in the North End (photo courtesy of NorthEndWaterfront.com)

Fans line up to see the Azzurri in the North End (photo courtesy of NorthEndWaterfront.com)

Benevenuto! The beautiful game is more than just a game. It’s a magnificent display of social, cultural and national identity. Not to mention a passionate display of emotions and devotion.

As Italians, we know how soccer, excuse me, football, ignites our souls and adds to our lives. It’s not just a game, and devoted Italians know that. We identify with our teams. Feel their joy when they win and mourn when they lose. The national team embodies the spirit of a nation and the hopes of Italians all over the world. It is through watching and actively participating in cheering, chanting and expressing our love for teams and star athletes that we are conveying the very essence of what it means to be a supporter and, more importantly, what it means to be Italian.

I am a professor of political science, and my research focuses on soccer and the various cultural, political and social roles that relate to this international sport. In this monthly column for Bostoniano, I will be writing about the many aspects of calcio in relation to our Italian culture. Oh, the places we’ll go!

From watching games at local area cafés to exploring the local connection to Italian clubs and organizations, I’ll be covering it all! I want to hear stories about what soccer means to you, why you support particular teams and observe the incredible locations where you watch games.

Celebrating a victory (photo courtesy of NorthEndWaterfront.com)

Celebrating a victory (photo courtesy of NorthEndWaterfront.com)

A fun part of this column will be discovering local soccer traditions. The various local clubs will be profiled in the coming months, as well as their connection to the overall Italian community. I’ll also be visiting local area cafés to talk about viewings and tell the stories of the interesting people who watch these games. Why do we gather together at particular places to watch? Are there attachments to these places, and why? We are going to find out!

I’ve always been fascinated by the excitement that builds when a major match is approaching. We wear our jerseys and engage in heated discussions about why our team is going to win.

I’ll also be exploring these relationships and looking to you, our readers, to tell me why you are devoted to the Azzurri, and what it means to be a supporter. For me, I am always thrilled to take out my Azzurri gear and cheer with anxious anticipation over every step and goal. Often becoming hoarse after watching games, I know the exhilaration when Italia wins. Nothing hurts quite as much as a loss. The memory lasts forever, or until the next victory, anyway. Our Italian culture comes alive in many ways, but it’s through soccer that we truly ignite this passion.

northendcafefeature2Team loyalty is something else that will be discussed. Why do we love our teams? What are the reasons for the many deep-seated rivalries? Personal or otherwise? I’m enthralled to see how discussions about soccer become personal. Why do we devote ourselves so passionately to a club? All of this and more will be kicked around in this monthly column. I am looking forward to talking soccer with you, along the writing trail, and hope that you will share your stories with me when we meet. Until I see you on the soccer circuit, enjoy watching your teams battle it out on the pitch. Forza Azzurri!

To you our readers, I want to express my excitement for this column! Please let me know if you have any ideas or if you belong to an organization that you would like to be featured. Ideas? Comments? Questions? Please Contact me: Lauren@bostoniano.info.

– Lauren E. Forcucci / Lauren@bostoniano.info

About Lauren E. Forcucci

Lauren is a Boston area college instructor of Political Science, researcher and writer. Her work focuses on Fascism, examining both its historic trends and current resurgences. In a recently published article, Lauren explores the Battle for Births pronatalist campaign in Fascist Italy, in which she uncovers a piece of her family’s history. Lauren is interested in all aspects of Italian customs as well as the political, cultural and social ways of life. She enjoys learning about and experiencing her personal connections to Italian culture through music, food, the arts, sports and other traditions. Lauren is a first generation Italian-American with roots in the Abruzzo region. She is passionate about educating and informing others of the many facets of Italian heritage. Learn more about Lauren’s work by visiting her blog: laureneforcucci.blogspot.com/