• Castel Rigone, Week 22: Royalty

    Re-blogging from Shades of Umbria, 3 Feb. 2014. This is the 15th 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

    The sun was shining in Perugia on Saturday afternoon, but above Lake Trasimeno clouds and mist prevailed. In a parallel struggle at the edge of the sod and mud, visiting tifosi tried to lift the atmosphere, spreading red-and-yellow banners (and one flag), and calling out their songs to the tunes of ‘Aida’, ‘The Entertainer’, and even ‘God Save The Queen’. Poggibonsi’s English aspirations even extended to one of the supporters’ groups, ‘Old Lion‘. Their team had not lost in six games.

    The home side were not sporting color; with the stewards in their usual light-grey Cucinelli slacks and charcoal pea coats, and the fans in dark winter gear, the mood was tense and uncertain. Castel Rigone had lost its last three matches.

    The pitch had been vacuumed of water, but more was to come — not long after the opening whistle, the skies opened up. The morass…

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  • Castel Rigone, Week 21: What Comes Around

    Re-blogging from Shades of Umbria, 28 Jan. 2014. This is the 14th 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

    Two long shots stretch the netting inside the goal. One skids almost 30 yards along the ground, denting the tips of weary grass and divots of mud. The keeper Zucconi, just entered as a substitute, positions himself on the right side, but — his view shielded — he dives too late, eyes shoving his head back as he twists to watch the ball skid past. The other steams nearly 40 yards into the upper right corner as Zucconi flies helplessly past. Both come off the feet of a 22-yr. old Portuguese no. 10, Pedro Miguel Costa Ferreira, who was shooting at nearly every opportunity, and whose persistence (or selfishness) paid off in the second half for A.C.R. Messina in their 2-0 defeat of Castel Rigone. The YouTube highlights of the game (below) have now had more views than the 1000 who watched the match in a stadium that holds nearly…

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  • Castel Rigone, Weeks 19-20: Bumps

    Re-blogging from Shades of Umbria, 23 Jan. 2014. This is the 13th 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

    Since Shakespeare‘s day, ‘bump‘ has meant a protuberance, something raised above the normal level. In a road, a bump forces one to slow down. During an election, a bump is more like a bounce. In the late 20th century, as data visualization became more common, words were commandeered to describe meaningful patterns or events. For instance, a significant change in a graphic trend-line (since at least 1980) became a ‘bump’ in the polls. Soccer has good and bad bumps too.

    Received wisdom says that when a team fires its manager, almost always because of poor results, the team revives, plays better, and often wins its next game, or several games. In other words, the team will enjoy a positive ‘bump’. The general reasoning is that players, wishing to impress the new manager, will try harder to keep their place on the squad, or earn the favor of…

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  • 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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  • Castel Rigone, Weeks 15-16-17: Card Games

    Re-blogging from Shades of Umbria, 24 Dec. 2013. This is the 11th 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

    All last week, the Giornale dell’Umbria published stories on Castel Rigone going for a ‘poker’. A ‘poker’ in Italian means a hand with four aces. In sporting terms, this indicates either scoring four goals in a game, or a string of four successive wins. On Sunday, the team earned that club-record fourth win in a row. A 1-0 victory away at Sorrento Calcio, after defeating other strong opposition (first-place Teramo and seventh-place Vigor Lamezia), vaulted Castel Rigone into fifth place at the midway point of the season, firmly within the survival zone of the top eight teams. (In Italian soccer, tiebreakers for teams level on points are: first, head-to-head record; second, overall goal difference.)

    The victory at Sorrento was achieved without their top striker, Dario Tranchitella, who was on the bench with the flu. Two other first-team strikers (Di Paola and Cappai) have either been transferred or are about to…

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  • Castel Rigone, Weeks 13-14: Bad Spirits and Good Spirits

    Re-blogging from Shades of Umbria, 3 Dec. 2013. This is the 10th 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

    With three penalties missed in a row and three games in a row with a player dismissed for a red card, Castel Rigone was looking for their fortunes to change in week 14 vs. Aprilia.

    The previous week had brought on a strong performance away vs. ACD Foggia, but a missed penalty (this time by Di Paola, who had just substituted for Tranchitella) and a red card had squashed a comeback from 2-0 for the white-and-blues from Umbria (video highlights for both matches below).

    Much of the week’s papers concentrated on the maledizione, or “curse” that seemed to befall the club’s strikers from the penalty spot, a place where about 75% of penalties are normally successful (the figure drops to 69% under the pressure of an end-of-match penalty shootout and (eek) to 14% when a player has to score to keep a team alive in a shootout). Pressure matters…

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