Castel Rigone, Week 18: True Grit

Re-blogging from Shades of Umbria, 7 Jan. 2014. This is the 12th in a series of posts on the ethics of competition, focusing on Castel Rigone Calcio, and part of the ‘Ethics of Combat‘ category on quemdixerechaos. This blog series completes a DePauw University Faculty Fellowship that examines how and why rules and customs develop for, and in, combat and competition.

Shades of Umbria

There’s a quality to players that coaches love to see here; they call it “grinta,” or “grit” — the will to focus one’s attention and energies towards a task despite all obstacles and conditions. Simon’s coach constantly talks to his team about playing with grinta. Castel Rigone showed it after the holiday break and earned three points in their fifth straight win, 1-0 over Chieti (who had beat them 3-1 in the very first game of the season back in August).

I took Simon to see the match; it had poured that morning, and the pitch was full of water puddles; the grounds crew worked with squeegees and augers to try to drain the water and dry the mud. The all-white kit of the home side was brown almost immediately, however. In those first minutes, Chieti launched a direct assault, putting through-balls between defenders who were slow to…

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