Home » Sportweek: the imaginary family and those 125 years of emotions

Sportweek: the imaginary family and those 125 years of emotions

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Father, mother and two boys in DAD start reading the collection of the newspaper: so we try to retrace the first pages of a historical newspaper. Starting from 10 July 2006 when Fabio Grosso’s penalty …

Valerio Piccioni

In his house, mom and dad have started talking about a number in recent days: 125. He didn’t quite understand what it is, but it must have something to do with that kind of fairy-tale place for his parents that c ‘is downstairs: the Gazzetta dello Sport collection. For him, all that paper makes little sense, much better to have the world in a pocket: everything is in his smartphone, Gazzetta included.

But it’s a strange afternoon, all these days without going out, all this Dad who can’t take it anymore. The idea comes to him at the entrance where there are four posters of four first pages, all strictly pink. His was on 10 July 2006, the day after he was born and when Fabio Grosso scored the penalty that made us world champions for France. Nearby is the Gazzetta of August 14, 2008, the date of his sister’s birth the day after Pellegrini’s gold: “Luckily we have FAITH”. The “big head of history” as the family idol said in the comment of that day, but then his sister ended up under the net and today he also has the exemption to play his volleyball championship while he, judoka, is stopped in the pits .

panatta and chile

It’s not over, however, further down there is the story of mum, who has 6 August 1978 in her identity card: “Simeoni, the world is applauding. The hug of mum and dad after 2.01 “. The record of Sara, the athlete of the century. Only the father is missing. He was the winner of the Davis Cup, 1976, beaten Chile. On that first page you have to question your grandfather who told that story a hundred times. “La Gazzetta was against it, it didn’t want us to play in protest against Pinochet’s dictatorship. Then, just a few days before, the director changed, Gino Palumbo arrived and he said: I respect the editorial staff, but I disagree, the State cannot tell sport in the meantime you go and I’ll join you ”. The fact is that Panatta, Bertolucci, Barazzutti and Zugarelli went and won.

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god of marathon

The fact is that the boy wants to go downstairs and does something that had never happened to him before: leafing through the Gazzetta, the Gazzetta di carta. Incredible: he likes it to the touch, and then he starts to see titles here and there. He sees the collection of 1896 and makes a discovery: the newspaper is green, it will turn pink only at the beginning of 1899. Then by dint of leafing through it ends up with a gentleman who says “G’hoo vist più”. A certain Carlo Airoldi who becomes furious because he was not allowed to run the marathon of the Athens Olympics, which began just three days after the birth of the Gazzetta. He made some money, he’s a professional. Find two crumpled notes with some written dates. It looks like a treasure hunt. Which takes him to Dorando Pietri and his staggering arrival, but the one who knows him, reads the news and discovers that the Gazzetta protests for “the total absence of organization and specific preparation”. Since 1908 it is almost a century and the track makes him return to Athens, he discovers another historical Gazzetta, that of Stefano Baldini’s Olympic triumph in 2004: “God of Marathon”.


Then he goes back, he discovers that football is hardly ever talked about, he reads all in one breath of the birth of the Giro d’Italia, which the Gazzetta launches in a hurry to prevent Corriere della Sera from taking away the idea: “Now the time has come to act ”. And a long story began. Meanwhile, the mother and sister have returned home. They find him there and are amazed: “What are you doing here?”. “Mom, tell him when you lectured on that Canadian?”. She is a physical education teacher, in the era of Dad, she replaced the gym with the history of sports. A moment and he takes out another front page of the Gazzetta: 1981, Stadio dei Marmi in Rome, a Paralympic competition when nobody knew this word yet, the guy is called Arnold Boldt: “Sensational. He has only one leg and jumps 2.04 ”. A revolutionary day, a feat worth a Tg1 title, which changes sport.

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Ali, Pietro and Valentino

Now the dad has arrived. “Do you remember when we voted?”. But yes, the election of the front page character for the 120th anniversary of the Gazzetta. The father had made the whole family vote Pietro Mennea, but Valentino Rossi had won. The reporters, however, chose Muhammad Ali. It had been some time since that pink insert, quite faded, they also have the one, in which praising Jesse Owens and his victories in Berlin ’36, he said to himself: “If he weren’t black, he would be a beautiful boy”. Madness. Ali beat Maradona. Maradona. “Do you remember – he says to his wife – of the guy who told us he had miraculously found the line to call him?”. “We had put a mark on the 81 collection”. Found it. The title: “Even a king of football – said Diego – must remain a servant of the public”. Those were the times when the Gazzetta offered readers the opportunity to telephone samples. The legendary Enzo Ferrari was asked: “But why do you drive a 131 and not a Ferrari? More comfortable?”. “No – replied the Drake -. Because a slower car is more prudent for my life ”.


The boys have gone upstairs, but they continue to browse. They remember that cursed title, “Pantani is gone”, the death of the Pirate, when they spent Valentine’s Day in the mountains. And then of the days when their school picked up the Gazzetta’s invitation to collect sports material for the city under siege. “Merry Christmas Sarajevo!”. Or the essay that she did in the faculty on prejudices against women in sport and cited the first sports journalist of the Gazzetta, Rosanna Marani, who in 1973 had surprised everyone with a scoop of applause, an interview with Gianni Rivera at a time when he never spoke. “And do you remember when the grandmother was in Selva di Val Gardena and listened to the interview that the correspondent of the Gazzetta made to Pertini after the 1982 World Cup? When did he blame him for all the criticisms of journalists in Spain? I said to myself, but let them finish these blessed World Cups! ”. “And who is it that told us about Cannavò, editor of the Gazzetta, who pretended to be the father of Jury Chechi to go and hug him in Atlanta after the gold medal in the rings?”. “Instead, do you remember when I read in class about that volleyball game in Afghanistan near an Emergency hospital?”. On the table, off the shelves, there is an issue of Sportweek: “FrancescOro”. The interview with the Pope. Nearby is a clipping of those wishes of the Pope to Alex Zanardi after the accident in that 2020, unfortunate in everything. Then another front page: “The boy with the goal”, with the joy of Paolo Rossi. Then they think of one evening, just before the lockdown, when they got into a really bad fight over the “Goodbye Kobe” on the day of Bryant’s death: she said that it took a whole page, a myth went away, he who he did not see the scandal because the Sunday news had to be given to the people anyway.

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has a lot of work

The boys are back and have also discovered a poster published for their 110th birthday, in 2006. Comaneci, Jabbar, Senna, McEnroe, Schumacher, Jordan, Bubka, Compagnoni… The boy, born on the night of the blue sky above Berlin, yes intrigues in front of a foil and a mask. “Valentina Vezzali, six gold medals at the Olympics”, suggests the mother. “What are you doing now?” The father reflects for a while to respond and then with a sigh also thinking about his closed gym and the commitments that await the new undersecretary, he gets along like this: “He has a lot of work”.

NB: The family that helped us travel through the history of the Gazzetta is imaginary. But not that much. In fact, there are likely to be several around. Families of all types and from all Italy. Families who want to continue living, dreaming, getting excited about sport. It is to them that this story is dedicated.


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