World Cup

By Sallie Katz

The North End is always fun and exciting but every four years there is an added zing. This is of course is the World Cup. Four years ago it went beyond anyone’s expectations because Italy won.

Every coffee bar is crowded with cheering fans. I’m sure everyone has their favorite. Mine is the Caffe Graffiti. Some how they have managed to turn their new modern location into the same old North End place. Unless you get there very early or manage to get a VIP reservation you can’t get a seat. But you can stand in front of the open window and cheer to your heart’s content.

I was there for the US/Slovenia game and lucky enough to be there when the US got their tying goal. The crowd went wild. While waiting for my takeout cappuccino I chatted with the owner, Unmberto DeMarco, who is the patriarch of the family run establishment. I asked what would happen if the unthinkable occurred and the US played against Italy. He thought and answered, “ Well of course you have to go with Italy.” As a loyal American who frequents the North End I had to agree.

By now I had caught the World cup fever and had to buy a shirt outside on the street. No problem with the nationality, Italy of course. But then I had to make a choice as to which number I wanted. There were 3 choices the goalie, the captain and the new star, none of which I had ever heard of. After much though I went with the goalie whose name by the way is Buffon and he is numero uno!

On the way home I stopped at another one of my favorites, Polcari’s Coffee Shop, where I had to get my weekly tea supply. As usual the place was mobbed and the humor abundant. One man was visiting from Italy and buying everything in sight. He kept repeating in his Italian accent that everything here was cheaper than in Italy.. Another customer said to me, “Just like Stop and Shop.” When I announced that the US had tied their game of course everyone cheered.

So, another morning in the North End. With all the buzz around me about the World Cup I couldn’t help but wish that all our international contests could be solved on the soccer field instead of the battlefield. Thankfully all this fun and excitement will go on for weeks. Many more games will be played. May the best team win, as long as it is Italy.

Sallie Katz is a longtime North End resident and soccer lover.