Rugby at Parma

Rugby at Parma

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

One of the people that I met on, Vincenzo, is a rugby player. When talking with him via Skype I could only see a small part of him and when we first met here in Bologna my comment was that he’s really quite “robusto” (solid, robust). In any case we hung around together, I met his family: Viviana his wife, daughter Elsa and son Dario.


The family

I was curious about rugby since I know little about the sport so I went to watch a rugby game with Vincenzo, his friend Enrico, daughter Elsa and the daughter of Enrico. It was a rainy day but, as with American football rugby is played in any weather.

When we started driving to Parma I heard Vincenzo and Enrico talk about stopping at a “pakistani” for some beer. I already knew that most of these stores that sell a variety of stuff (fruits, vegetables, beer, snacks, etc) are owned by Pakistanis or Bangladeshis so it makes sense that it’s a common term for the little bodegas. So Enrico bought 5 bottles (66 ml ea. – about 24 oz) and a big bag of potato chips. Now in the U.S. it would be impossible to carry this beer into a sporting event but here, at least at a rugby event it’s less of a problem. Besides who could possibly notice that someone is toting that quantity of beer into the stadium. We consumed it all.

Could this person possibly have a backpack full of beer?

We started late and so arrived at the stadium just as the game was about to start. All of the seats were taken except those at the very edge of the stands. It soon became clear why these were available. There was a roof over the stands but near the edge there was rain. So the first half of the game was watched with the help of umbrellas.

Vincenzo in one of the rainy seats with his cute umbrella

I won’t bore you with the details of the game other than to say that while it is quit different from American football it is very much a contact sport. By the end I was getting a hang of the strategy – which seemed to be to make very modest gains before the ball carrier was inevitably tackled (no blocking is allowed) and then another member of the team retrieves the ball and repeats this effort with the hope of breaking through the opposition and getting to the goalposts.

The scrum – teams push against each other to try to get possession of the ball

The ball emerging from the scrum

When we arrived at the game parking was a problem. But since this is Italy, people freely ignored signs warning of the consequences of parking illegally. I was a bit relieved to find that the car was still there and without even a parking ticket after we left the game.

Forced removal? Not today.

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