Our football culture

After the football season, the Associação Académica de Coimbra was relegated to the “Third Division”. I know that naming leagues has long since abandoned this classification model (there are now leagues and leagues in Portugal and I don’t know what else), but I insist on writing it like that. why? Because when I learned of Academia’s last place in the “Second Division”, I couldn’t help but remember those designations, or rather my father and our conversations about football.

In my childhood we lived in Pombal, and like other townspeople (yes, it was still a town), we used to go to Coimbra from time to time to watch the Academia games. I did not study and did not live in Coimbra – in any case, for me, the city has always been the land of academia. Apparently, after two defeats to the student team – with Benfica (1-2) and Porto (1-5, if memory correctly serves me) – I declared myself a fan of Academia, and felt that I was still without knowing it, of this childish compulsion which Every Portuguese citizen is required to be a member of one of the “big ones” (which, in fact, there were four at the time, including the Belenenses).

My father had the nobility of a person who, in the face of the vicissitudes of football, resisted all the manish clubs. Without even realizing at the time that this was happening, I learned with him to admire, and even more, to relish the fact that a football match is not a unified fantasy, but it happened with two teams, to the extent that we have available–and patiently cared–the talents of everyone in the field.

Although he died nearly thirty years ago, at a time, in spite of everything, the spherical saturation of the social and media fabric was not so gigantic at present, he was so disgusted, and sometimes cruelly ironic, that he noticed many forms of hysterical clubs . It taught me to see and understand, for example, that Académica itself emerged from a concept of sport in which commitment to the game did not take second place over other values, starting with the warm symbolism rooted in the relationship with the university.

A Benfica fan, he told me with real joy that he was present at Campo das Salesias (of Belenenses), in the first final of the Portuguese Cup, in 1939, in which Academia beat Benfica 4-3. Not forgetting that we were thrilled with the great team that Academia had in the mid-sixties, with players like Malo, Corrado, Ruy Rodriguez, the Campos brothers (Vitor and Mario), Tony or Artur Jorge – in the 1966-1967 season, this team managed to occupy Second place in the championship (won by Benfica).

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