Sports Outside the Beltway

Holy football Batman!

A Vatican soccer tournament began in Rome today.

ROME – The fans were pious. The players bound for glory. And the victory? A miracle. Priests and seminarians from several soccer-loving countries took to a field near the looming dome of St. Peter’s Basilica Saturday for the first match of the Clericus Cup, a tournament fielding 16 teams from Catholic institutes in Rome.

“You are playing in view of St. Peter’s cupola, so behave well,” admonished Cardinal Pio Laghi before giving the official kickoff at a small arena on a hill overlooking the Vatican.

In Italy soccer is a hallowed game, taken almost as seriously as Catholicism, and the players were all business once the whistle was blown.

Amid screams from the coaches, pious slogans from the small crowd and T-shirts invoking the protection of the Virgin Mary, a motley crew of Latin Americans, Africans and Asians from the Collegio Mater Ecclesiae (Mother of the Church College) took on an all-Brazilian team fielded by the Gregorian University.

In a miraculous upset, the young Mater Ecclesiae players trounced the more experienced but portly Brazilians 6-0 as their fans chanted: “The Mother of the Church wants a goal!”

Yes but whose team is the Holy Mother a fan of?

Kind of reminds me of the commercial five years ago. A father and his young son watching football and whenever one team scored a touchdown the boy would yell “Touchdown” while raising his arms in the air. Unfortunately the game wasn’t going well for Dad’s team.

That commercial(I don’t remember who the sponsor was) was seen frequently during the 2002 football season. It sticks in my memory and that of my wife who at the time was pregnant with our son Daniel. I wish Daniel was here to watch television with me now rather than me whittling away a Saturday doing nothing in particular.

Cross Posted to The Florida Masochist and Poliblog’s Deportes

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