Parma, Lanfranchi Stadium, 6th, 7th and 8th of July –– Three days full of great football for the Italian Bowl weekend, tons of food and beer trucks creating the perfect Tailgate party for all the fans that decided to come all the way to Parma to cheer for their team during the finals.
NINE BOWL, Elephants Catania vs Ravens Imola ––
The big weekend started on Friday the 6th at around 9 pm with the first game of the weekend: the NINE BOWL where we saw the Ravens Imola coming out as winners against the Elephants Catania.
SILVER BOWL, Warriors Bologna vs Pretoriani Roma ––
Saturday 7th – the first game of the day was the Second Division final where the Warriors Bologna decided to go all ‘gas no breaks’ on the Pretoriani Roma.
ITALIAN BOWL XXXVII, Seamen Milano vs Giants Bolzano ––
8 pm, the weird feeling of butterflies was growing in my stomach, only an hour left to the kick off of the most important game of the year, the Italian Bowl XXXVIII, where the Seamen Milano played against the Giants Bolzano to keep the Winning title.
As the time was getting closer I decided, to take my mind off the upcoming game, to spend some time where the Seamen team was warming up before the game. The reddish sun was slowly hiding behind the buildings, creating long shadows of the players on the field. I set on the wooden gate, trying my best not to fall down, watching them train, so concentrated and it all hit me so hard; Do you even wander what it feels like to work doing something you love, something that gives you goosebumps, something that makes you feel complete? well that field, makes me feel home, makes me feel complete, like it’s the right thing to do, like all the problems just fade away.
Having to do with the Seamen for a full season kinda made me realize even more that what I’m doing is the right thing, days and nights under the pouring rain, or the burning sun, traveling for hours or even photographing two game days a weekend, It’s all right.
Those guys made me feel home, and on the 7th of July this hit me so hard that I had to keep in a few tears of joy.
But now back to the game, 9 pm, each team made its entrance on the field, nerves were showing, you could see it on their faces; the US National Anthem, not many of you know that I always get goose bumps while listening to it, and as always, it hit me hard, goose bumps and watery eyes while photographing the players singing along.
As the game started the Giants took the lead, but nearly at the end of the second quarter, just before the half time, the Seamen had their best plays and brought the ball in the end zone a few times. Once the half time show was over, the teams got back on the field and the game started, you could feel the tension in the air, on the players faces that knew that even tho they were winning it wasn’t over yet.
I walked just behind the end zone, my favorite position to take photos, the referee blew the whistle, the seconds were passing fast, Seamen offense had the ball, I could see Luke Zahradka (#7 QB)’ s eyes through the visor shining, concentrated, then the snap, he caught the ball, looked around and just ran; my heart was pumping in my chest, he broke through a few tackles getting closer to the end zone, then he jumped.
I remember looking at the whole action though my camera just like it was in slow motion, no noises around, looked like everyone was holding their breath, just like in the movies, and as soon as he touched the ground it all came back to normal. He got back up, looked at the referee waiting for the TD call and as he approved, Zahradka spiked the ball smiling as his team mates ran towards him. I felt Goose bumps and butterflies.
Then, finally the referee called the end of the game, the crowd went wild, players were screaming, laughing, hugging each others,a few of them with happy tears falling down their cheeks.
Happiest moment in my life.
SUPER BOWL WEEKEND July 6th, 7th 2018