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As a football fan living in the US, I’m amazed at how many games are available on TV these days. On any Saturday or Sunday, I can choose from at least 10 games on my basic cable package. Football fans in the US tend to focus their attentions on the Premier League, which has as much to do with the crispness of its presentation as the action on the pitch. The periphery is perfect: the stadiums are beautiful, modernised and full, and the the fans are present and loud. But, more than anything, the games are so watchable because of the commentary. Men's #2 Nike Limited Brian Hoyer Black NFL Jersey - San Francisco 49ers 2016 Salute to ServiceNBC, who show all 380 Premier League matches live in the US, do not put out the exact same broadcast as the one shown in the UK, but they do employ commentators with British presenters, which lends everything immediacy and authenticity. This is what sets the Premier League apart from the rest of the big European leagues. When we watch games from Spain, Germany, France or Italy, we are watching something in translation. I have followed Italian football intently for more than half of my life – especially during the three years I spent living there – but I increasingly find myself watching Serie A games without the sound as it almost feels like a contaminant. It’s not that the quality of the commentary in English is that bad – it is pretty bad, though – it’s more that the words used just don’t fit the game the way Italian commentary does. Rather than watching a Serie A game, I feel as if I’m listening to somebody else watching the game, Teemu Selanne Jersey with an added layer of detachment. It’s not just that the observations are more astute and the passion is more intense, but the Italian language manages to mesh perfectly with the action it describes. Italians even have their own name for the game: calcio, literally “kick”, preferring not to Latinise the word “football” as the Spanish (fútbol), French (le foot) and Portuguese (futebol) all do. In my very first Italian class, a student asked the teacher why Italians do not just use a simple variation, like in Spain, and the teacher replied, without even the hint of a smile: “Because we are much better at soccer than the Spanish.” Italian football is often criticised for being overly dramatic, with players spending too much time feigning injury, encircling the referee or dropping to the grass with their faces in their hands after they have missed opportunities. These criticisms carry weight but, given the language of the game in Italy, it is hard to see how the game could be any other way. An Italian match is more than just that; it is a performance in which the players are fighting not just to win Drew Stanton Jersey but to win over the audience. In Italian a player does not play a position (posizione), but rather their role (ruolo). Managers often speak in post-match interviews about how a player has “interpreted their role” or how the team has “interpreted the match” as a whole. The playmaker is called a regista, or “director”, while players who exchange passes are said to dialogare, literally “to dialogue”. A goal is not scored, but rather “authored” (l’autore del gol). A player who is often at the centre of the action becomes the game’s protagonista, with the potential to risolvere la partita, or “resolve the match”. A particularly creative player may also be praised for his fantasia, while a true legend of the game, such as Roberto Baggio, is a maestro. A team’s passing or possession may be referred to as its fraseggio, which means literally its “phrasing”, a term used to describe musical expression. A player’s individual move is a numero, his error or lapse in judgment is a pasticcio, or “pastiche”, while his shot on goal is a conclusione, which, should he miss, is considered fallita, or “failed”, the same word Italians use to describe bankruptcy. A ball is not won from the team, but conquistato, or “conquered”, and is not trapped but addomesticato, “domesticated”. A challenge from an opposing player is a contrasto, Mark Barron Jersey or “conflict”; a match-up is a duello; and a penalty-kick is a rigore, or “rigour”. All this drama plays out in front of the pubblico whose cori, or “choruses”, are as likely to be jeering the victorious team as celebrating them depending on the performance itself.

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