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 ask? 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... ...in 2500 B.C. the Emperor of China's personal bodyguard, Huang-Tse, invented a foot and ball game? ...in 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 fingertips. 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 rec.sport.soccer post is dedicated to the memory of Mestre Ziza. Valeu, Zizinho.