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  • Welcome Back Serie A Soccer
    A new soccer season means a new war with the family
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    The soccer season opened last weekend in Italy, which means war has broken out in my husband's home. His family, including his mom and his three brothers-in-law and sisters and their children, live in the same house on the island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples in Italy. We've been staying in the house with his family for the past couple of months. Antonio is a fan of Juventus (which at last count was the most popular club in Italy), while one of his brothers-in-law is a fan of A.C. Milan (which is owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi).

    I am also a fan of Juventus. Unlike most women, I didn't just become one when I married my husband. I was a Juventus fan long before we met - and our shared interest in the sport and the club team probably helped bring us together. But my interest has waned a bit since my profound disappointment when Juventus was penalized and forced to play in Serie B because of its participation in a cheating scanda. If the coaches and owners are bribing the refs, you kind of lose faith in the sport.

    Still, Fabio Cannavaro and Gianluigi Buffon - my favorite players, who happen to be a whole lotta handsome, too - draw me in every once in a while. It's the one time my husband is all right with me looking at other men. Plus, if the players aren't cheating, soccer truly is a beautiful game, akin to ballet with a ball.

    As an added bonus for those of us from the Naples region, in 2009 Juventus has become more Neapolitan than the Napoli team. In addition to Cannavaro, who is Neapolitan to the bone and also the captain of the World Cup championship Italian national team, former player Ciro Ferrara is the Juventus coach. Longtime friends, the two Neapolitans are only two of the people from Naples that are helping Juventus this season. They've brought some of their friends along for the ride.

    So far, so good. Juventus beat Chievo last night. It's a good thing, too, because A.C. Milan won its opener against Siena on Saturday night. My husband and brother-in-law would have had a major blow out had one of the teams won and the other lost. Still, he and his brother-in-law did have a heated argument about which team will take the Serie A championship this season. The war never ends and it doesn't stop at the Italian border.

    My sister, who lives in the States and is an Inter Milan fan, didn't have such a great weekend. Her team tied one to one with Bari of all teams. It was a great showing for the underdogs, who would have beaten Inter if it weren't for a questionable penalty kick. Now, I know when my sister reads this she will argue that the ref made a good call, and I'm just a bitter Juventus fan. My husband Antonio will of course agree with me. And the battle lines will be drawn across oceans and mountains. God, it's great to have Serie A soccer back in our lives!

    Di Meglio is the Guide to Newlyweds for

    Article Published 8/24/09


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