From: Victoria Barrett 
Subject: A Supporter's Diary
Date:09 February 2002 10:07

There are certain things I possess which I treasure most, often having no
value, and actually being rather childish. Such is my latest acquisition,
"Fluminense: Diario do Torcedor".

This day-to-day journal comes via my Brazilian buddy, Lourenco, who kindly
purchased it for me near Laranjeiras last week. What is Laranjeiras, you

Well, specifically where, as Laranjeiras (Orange Groves, a most fragrant
translation) is that neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro where my preferred
football club, Fluminense, has its stadium home and headquaters.

He searched every camelo (open-air vendor stall) and futebol specialty shop
in downtown Rio, always coming up empty for my Flu Diario, until he figured
he might give Laranjeiras a try. Why so much effort for a casual
aquaintance? Because I was the (1) only (2) foreign (3) woman (4) in Miami
(5) who knew what Fluminense (6) was.

Never mind that he is tricolor too -- such rare (but "bacana") qualities as
indicated above must rewarded, he once told me and I was only too happy to
settle back and reap from his warmhearted Brazilian largesse.

Well may you ask what makes this Diario so wonderful? I'm not sure, so let
me describe it to you.

It is a rather plain bound volume, wrapped in thick plastic (the better to
prevent stains from a hastily quaffed vitamina of abacaxi, laranja, and
maracuja -- nectar of the football gods). On the outside are two distinctive
markings, proudly proclaiming to all cognoscenti, "The bearer is a
Fluminense supporter".

First the escutcheon of the club; second the colours, vermillion and
chartreuse (or for those whose rainbow is less vibrantly hued,
red-and-green). And as if there were any doubt to its purpose, there are
soccer balls jostling with the Flu crests fore and aft.

Opening the journal, one has a quick glimpse of its practical nature --
spaces for the wondrous need for IDs of all kinds in Brazil.

In the "Dados Pessoais" section, one can fill out one's name, address, CIC
(Social Security number) but also voter's registration card and passport
number. Further down, you can even fill out your "socorro mecanico" contact
name, for this Diario saves your bacon even in automobile emergencies.

Skipping over the calenders provided (1999-2002, heavens the last year!) one
arrives at what makes this Diario so very gemuetlich; for in the very next
section, there is the "A Historia do Futebol" synopsis. Did you know that... 2500 B.C. the Emperor of China's personal bodyguard, Huang-Tse,
invented a foot and ball game? 1529 two rival noblemen from Florence decided to settle accounts in
the Piazza Santa Croce, using two teams of twenty-seven men, dressed in
green and white, using points known as caccia?

...on the 26th of October 1863, in a Freemason Tavern in Great Queen Street,
there met an assembly of 11 schools and clubs, ready to debate the vagaries
of "foot only", "hand too", or "run and lateral as in rugby" thereby
cementing what became in December, the Football Association?

...Brazilian-born Englishman, Charles Miller, was present at the first
championship held on Brazilian soil (the Paulista 1902), where he scored 10
goals in 9 matches played?

Well, now you do. Your obrigados to my Diario are duly noted.

The next pages (365 to be exact) contain an open-ended list of dates. This
isn't a year-specific diary, no. The considerate printers (Braga and
Associates for the obsessively detail-minded, the ranks of which I populate)
left the actual date blank, the better to be able to sell and use it for
four years running. So considerate, so laudable, and so Carioca to its

It's only at the very bottom that one notices the small script for each day
mentioned. And on each of these days, one gets a loving little factoid about
soccer, some irreverent, some hallowed, all of them useful.

I haven't finished reading all 365 entries, but let me share my favourites
thus far:

The Irreverent

"How did you find this match?" "I didn't find anything, but Adilio found a
little gold bracelet" - Claudiomiro.

The Hallowed

The inventors of the 4-2-4 formation, used by the Brazilian national team of
1970, were the Hungarians.

The Useful

If a regulation football pitch were to be divided amongst all the players on
it, each player would receive 375 m. squared of grass.

At the very end of this handy notebook-slash-lifesaver, is the requisite
phone-address list; but also a leaf for "Autografos", something which once I
used for that very purpose, when my parents and I were dining at La Scala,
the Moulin Rouge of Rio de Janeiro.

Not more than a table away, we spied the trademark curly locks of Careca, so
off I went, beloved Diario in hand.

To be sure, it may have been another "Diario do Torcedor" that received his
squiggly autograph (with a hurried gesture, but also a kindly parting smile,
for how many bold teenage Inglesas knew about Careca?), but the purpose was
the same: these journals, so redolent of the passion of, for and about
Brazilian football, are forever by your side -- your silent accomplices for
365 bossa-nova filled days.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Mestre Ziza. Valeu,