23 August 2021
The online school chat that became a virtual stadium for the National TeamTeacher Antonella talks about the Italian team's European Championship and how she discovered that football is a perfect metaphor for life
Monday, August 9, 2021
We’re publishing the story of Antonella Agresti, a 35-year-old teacher and journalist who lives in San Mango Cilento.
In my house, “football” has always rhymed with “National Team”. Since my father was not a football fan, my sister and I did not grow up with tactics and formations, but we have always followed the Azzurri's matches with a certain tradition.
So I've decided to fully follow this European Championship from home, as I've superstitiously been doing for decades. And I immediately had the feeling that there was something special in the air. Starting with the tricolour on display on the balcony, this time it was the one I had put out during the lockdown in March 2020. A tricolour that’s lived, so to speak, which still bore the marks of what had passed over us and which, if even faintly, reminded us of the recent common phrase: "everything will be alright". An apt forecast... at least in football terms.
Then on the evening of 11 June, that song was of the Italians as never before. It was the first time, after singing it on the balconies, that we found ourselves together, united, but no longer far apart.
Suddenly I was surprised to discover football as a metaphor for life; for what should be and what shouldn't be: from the fans of the two opposing teams shouting "Christian Eriksen!" together; to Insigne showing off Spinazzola's shirt in front of the camera; the English booing the anthem and coming second, and finally, Vialli and Mancini hugging.
Every gesture, on the pitch or not, was charged with special meaning and pathos in this tournament, probably because we were coming out of a moment of collective bewilderment and were desperately in search of positive emotions finally. So it was wonderful to realise that the "magic nights" had returned, replacing curfew.
For the final at home, we even bought a new TV: nicer and bigger, as if we wanted to see better images that, deep down, we knew would remain in our eyes and hearts for a long time. As a teacher, I was thrilled when, on 11 July, the students remembered the Whatsapp groups we used to use during the months of hated online schooling, transforming them into virtual stands and changing rooms where we suffered, cheered and rejoiced together.
And so that cup, which is a bit like a Pandora's box, has 'come home'; inside it is all the pride of feeling like a team, a group, a family, a Nation. And in the bottom we’ll leave this hope, that can’t die, if not for the last time, and that reminds us "everything will be alright”.
Thank you guys.
What was your experience of our Euro 2020 triumph? Send us a memory or a particularly curious anecdote related to Euro 2020, ideally with some good-quality, horizontal photo evidence alongside, to our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org .