Monday, April 05, 2004

It's all about the Basketball (by Sarah)

SIENA (#42)

Saturday night began as a regular night on the town with all my friends from school. When I met them, they were all really excited for some reason. Turns out that before I met up with them, they were all at the big opening of a store. For the event, the store had a few of Siena's basketball players there to sign shirts and stuff. For my friend Chiara, this was the best day of her life, because she met her favorite player, David Vanterpool. The other favorite of my friends is David Anderson.
We started to walk around and suddenly we saw two heads that were much higher than everyone elses. It was Vanterpool and Anderson! We followed them for a little bit while my friends told me all about them. It was so funny, because there were about 20 other groups of kids along with us pointing and following them too! My friends told me that Vanterpool is actually American, so I really wanted to talk to him! At first they didn't like the idea, but they finally gave in, and we walked right over to the famous basketball players.

David Vanterpool was as sweet as can be! (And he was REALLY tall!) He warmed up right away after knowing that I was American too, and we chatted a bit about the U.S.A. He lives in Washington D.C. and came to Siena to play for the basketball team. The whole time we talked, my friends had gathered around and actually brought more friends over, so there was a little crowd around us. They stood there, trying to understand, and staring with huge eyes and wide open mouths. I knew that Chiara loved him, and she wanted a picture with him, so I asked him to pose with her for a picture, and someone took it with her cell phone! I could tell she was so happy!

After we said goodbye, my friends invited me to the basketball game the next night to see him and Anderson play! How could I say no to an offer like that?!

Sunday at 7 pm, I met Martina on the steps near Piazza Della Posta. I was going to sleep over at her house, we we dropped my stuff off there first, and then went to get some pizza. We then met Maria Sole and Roberta and then we were on our way to the game!


The stadium is tiny compared to the fleet center. The four of us met more people from our class who were already there. We sat in a corner near the cheering section. The cheering section was insane. They had flags and mega phones so they could lead the chants and cheering. Before the game started, everyone stood up and we sang a song about Siena (which I actually knew!!). Then, everyone got out the huge flags and waved them around and then threw confetti on everyone! It's a serious thing to sit there; you have to be completely devoted to the team and always have to be participating and yelling the cheers as loud as you can. Two of my classmates were sitting there with their other friends.

There are a lot of differences with sports here than sports in America. One funny thing is that half of the people that go to the games aren't even watching the court; they are too busy watching the cheering! The game was pretty good. David Vanterpool was by far the best player they have! He was extremely good. We think that the reason he's not playing in the NBA is because by being on a team here, he would get to play more compared to the 1 minute he might get in an NBA game. But he definately has the skills. The fans were just so dedicated to Siena it was great.

All the way across the stadium was a special little section for the opposing city, which was Napoli (Naples). There were uncountable dirty hand signs and a lot of foul language between the rivals. When the umpires would make a bad call against Siena, it seemed as if the whole stadium got up and went to the railings to rant at them. (While they were so close to the court, they also swore at the Napoli players). A guy sitting near us actually crumpled up a pamphlet and threw it all the way down onto the court!

After the game, I went back to Martina's house. Of course, even though it was a school night, we stayed up until the wee hours and talked about everything! If you want to see some pictures I took at the game of my friends, you can look at the image gallery in Daily Life/Around Siena/Mens Sana.

[Note:  The gallery is no more.  Try this link to see the pictures.]

COMMENTS from the original blog

2004-04-09 16:17:0542 len

Great article! You are really showing how differently people in Sienna treat a ballgame.  I second BubbiBarbi's comment on your talking to a basketball "star".  Sounds as if you're really getting along well in Italy! Enjoyed reading your article, keep up the good work!

Grandpa Karoll

2004-04-11 09:12:5842 sarah
Re: It's all about the Basketball (by Sarah)
Thanks Grandpa! I'm so glad that you are enjoying my stories!!!

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