Z. Madison

For when you're relaxing at home or killing company time - Z. Madison's here for you.


Ciao France!

The Boyfriend and I had plans to catch the game at my local neighborhood bar conveniently located downstairs and a door over from my apartment, but walking by and seeing it so packed that people were literally pressed against the glass and swarmed 20 deep around the outside TV, we walked on in search of a more comfortable spot to cheer on Italy. After six vain attempts at over crowded spaces, we by chance, ran across a tiny tapas place that was showing the game via a projector against a blank wall. The clientele was mixed in their French/Italian loyalties, but hipster by definition. The bloody marys were strong, the olives sour and the seats comfortable.

I have three conference calls tomorrow and no voice to now speak of. I cheered myself hoarse in this nail biter and bitterly lambasted the French star, Zidane, when he viciously head butted an Italian player and earned a red card. While the yells of joy and outrage were even in the crowd on a play by play basis, all of us screamed approval when in the middle of the action, the camera cut away to a boisterous William Jefferson Clinton hobnobbing in the VIP box.

Stepping out into the blazing sunshine ia euphoric state when the final winning penalty goal was made, I was immediately reminded of why I love my neighborhood. While sauntering down Smith Street, the pubs and dive bars spilled forth buzzed and buzzing soccer fans. We all congratulated one another and as we walked, I admired all the Italian flags draped from the windows of the apartments above. When we got to Robin de Bois, I felt sad for the sulking smokers set against a proudly displayed French flag. That is until I heard the ruckus coming up the street.

There were three SUVs and one convertible. All looking like an Italian Flag blew up on them. Rowdy, likely drunk, men in their 30s were hanging out the windows and surfing the roof of their vehicles, screaming like the Brooklyn Dodgers were coming back to town and St. Torre had signed on to coach. As they weaved up the street, all the sidewalks' habitants threw up their arms and cheered them on. The convoy abruptly stopped in front of Robin de Bois and upon seeing the offending flag, rolled up a spare blue jersey and threw a touchdown pass smack at the middle. To add insult to injury, the crowd roared approval. More cars came streaming up Smith all bedecked in orange, white and green, horns honking, balloons and flags blazing.

As we made our way back to the original bar destination, these impromptu processions became more constant. Happily back at Hanley's, we squeezed our way past the sea of blue jerseys and "Italians Do It Better" T-shirts to a seat in the back yard overlooking the action on the corner and at the "social club" across the street where the Sicilian Grandpas were BBQing. After inhaling an amazing burger and salivating over the ribs that had been cooking on Hanley's grill all day, we knew it was time to wrap up the festivities when an ambulance, sirens blasting, came roaring down Court St. waving an enormous Italian flag. How can you top that?

So congratulations, my Italian friends. Thank you, and France, for an amazing game and wonderful afternoon.

PS - Anyone know if the Yanks won today?


At 9:53 PM, Anonymous Troy from todc said...

I'm happy for Italy because I remember back in '94 when they lost in a shootout to the Brasilians. In my office pool, which I won, I even picked Italy to win. That said, I really wanted to see the French win, I even picked them to beat favorites Brasil. ZZ is an incredible athelete that let his frustrations get the better of him. He should have scored on the header and that probably most upset him. I believe Italy's coach managed the game 10x better. You can't win in PK's when you sub Henry and ZZ gets a red. OK IM done with that. Now I must wait 4 years and pray for Klinsman to coach the US soccer squad.

*btw, The Yanks played Tampa, do you really think you have to ask if they won? (let me look) dang! they lost. What is happening to the Yanks? Someone (you) should write an article on them and give us some hometown insight. Here in the middle of Indiana all we see is the leagues highest payroll and a subpar performance.

At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Jeremy said...

Z - I envy you. Though we’ve made some strides over the last few years, in Omaha we have nothing close that resembles that type of culture in our neighborhoods. I'm glad to see you are enjoying it!

At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never really watched soccer that much, but when I heard Italy was playing France, I was glued to the TV. I love watching the French loose; they do it so pathetically.

At 8:38 PM, Blogger Z. Madison said...

T - Glad you won your pool. I bet you your winnings that you'll see the Yanks in the postseason.

J - But Omaha has great steaks, right? :)

Anon - The only war the French have won is against themselves. If nothing else, at least they went out in style. Ha!


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