Roughly 50,000 Torontonians filled the Skydome last night to watch AS Roma take on Glasgow Celtic. Having such a huge Italian population I expected the Celtic fans (of which I am one, I suppose, having no geographical affiliation or reason to follow any club save my vague connections to people who are fans) to be badly outnumbered, but those wearing green & white were only slightly outnumbered by the burgundy jerseys and blue Italian colours. And what the Celtic fans might’ve lacked in numbers they made up for in drunkenness. Some old bald guy yelling, “We are the Celtic! We are the Celtic! We are…”, walking down Front Street, picked Nellie up and moved her out of the way so that his path wouldn’t be impeded nor his yelling interrupted.
It took us a while to find our seats, which were in the upper troposphere. It was a mostly neutral section, with Celtic fans behind us (it was the only row behind us) and 8 Italian kids in front of us. Except for the one who looked like Pacey from Dawson’s Creek they all had exactly the same hair and clothes. They were…annoying. So were the drunk Scots behind us, but at least they were entertaining.
So, the game: had I watched it on TV I probably wouldn’t have called it a great game (some of the better Celtic players sat out, and it was a bit sloppy in general. But, it was so much better to watch the whole game take place. Unlike basketball, where you can see all 10 of the players on the screen 95% of the time, football pitches are so large that you only see a portion of the players. This let me see the whole game, how it flowed, and just how fast the players are. In the end Roma beat Celtic 1-0, but Celtic could easily have tied or even won it. Roma slacked off badly after they scored, and Celtic pressed hard near the end of each half, both times just missing easy put-ins. Ah well, it meant little, but it was an experience for a city that rarely gets them on a real live pitch before our eyes. And now I have another historic, yet tragic team to root for. C’mon The Hoops!!