Religious holidays are necessarily a mixture of scripture and some light guess work. Does anyone really know the actual date a certain miracle occurred? Of course not. Set aside the fact that our western calendar has changed over the years and you'd still be faced with an impossible task; record keeping wasn't exactly ancient man's top priority.
Fortunately, modern man has organization down pat, and as legend has it, so annoyed with the commercial and religious aspects of Christmas was he, that Frank Costanza decided to create his own holiday, bestowing upon the world Festivus. Celebrated on December 23rd, Festivus stands as sort of an anti-holiday; an occasion meant to tear families apart rather than bring them together.
If you have no clue what I'm talking about, you probably weren't as obsessed with Seinfeld as I was, but here is the story in sum:
As you can see, the tradition of Festivus begins with an airing of grievances, a list of problems one has with the people or institutions in their life. While we all have legitimate and serious complaints with Roma, I'll try and keep mine light.
With that in mind, here's my list, feel free to share your's below.
#1: What's with all the damn running tracks?
I'm not an architectural expert, nor am I a city planner, but I think part of what makes Juve's new stadium and the redesigned Stadio Friuli in Udine so stunning isn't so much the striking angles of flawless sight lines. Nope, it's the lack of running tracks. As Roma fans, we've had to deal with that orange oval of death separating us from our beloved club, but why? Is it that hard to remove those things and put in some cheap seats, or is track and field really that popular in Italy?
#2: Why is the sport called 'kick'?
I can probably chalk this one up to my poor understanding of Italian, but if the literal translation of 'calcio' is kick, couldn't they come up with a different word or phrase for the sport that encompasses kicking? (And yes, before you call me an idiot, I realize that calcio has become synonymous with the sport as well as the verb, to kick)
#3: The little kid parade ahead of kickoff
This tradition crept up so slowly, we hardly noticed. I'm sure it started as some sort of one-off awareness and/or fundraising effort for a children's charity, but it's become so ubiquitous across the globe, no one even questions it anymore. And why do they have to dress one poor kid as the ref? No one aspires to be an official when they're ten years old!
#4: Openly Hostile British Announcers on ESPN, and Anti-Serie A Biases
I have to admit, several weeks ago when ESPN + aired a Roma match with two overly British announcers, who had a rather open disdain for Italian football, constantly belittling the players and drawing unnecessary and superfluous Premiership comparisons throughout the match, I kind of enjoyed it; it was so absurd as to be entertaining.
But, seriously, if the league wants to raise its profile, particularly in the English speaking world, sort out your broadcasts: no more calling games from a booth 4,000 miles away with canned audio, put them in the stadiums, get them access to the clubs, make it, oh I don't know, more professional.
Don't get me wrong, it has completely transformed the viewing experience for Americans. No more huddling over a choppy stream on our laptops, we can actually enjoy the match in HD. So it was a tremendous first step towards total media saturation, but there are still some wrinkles in need of ironing.
#5: The back of the shirt sponsor
Allow me to channel my inner-millennial...I can't even. I hate shirt sponsors in general, but the back of the kit ads are the worst form of corporate whoring. At this rate, we're only a few years away from these.
#6: The VAR Process in General
At this point, I'm almost afraid to admit that, when it comes to VAR, I really only know what the letters mean. There is no discernible protocol for when it's used, why it's used or who can summon its holy powers, and when they finally make a fucking decision we're left only to helplessly interpret some meaningless hand gestures. Give the ref a mic and let him talk to the crowd like an NFL official; it makes perfect sense and it would only take a couple weeks until he’s openly cursing over the stadium P.A.
I just hate them. Full stop.