Ain't Too Proud

Waking up from the nigh suffocating memories of yesterday evening on a patch of grass in northern Rome, the city is dominated by one debate. One single topic hashed, re-hashed, and then regurgitated over and over: what will happen when Inter go to Rome to play Lazio? What should we fans make of it? Romanisti and anti-romanisti laziali alike, a position must be chosen.

Lazio-Inter is the last vain piece of hope Roma's scudetto chances have, because Chievo and Siena could play Inter a thousand times over at this point of the season and not once disturb them. Lazio can, because they're not as bad as the table suggestively wants to trick us into believing. But can laziali behave as a normal football club would in a situation where they're still fighting for survival, can they accept winning their own game even as doing so would lend Roma an immense hand? A slightly unscientific survey I have conducted over the past ten days shows that Lazio destroying Roma's title chances by losing to Inter would be one of that club's biggest accomplishments, a feat no doubt to be housed in the pantheon of Lazio myths and legends (for the curiously inclined: Lazio's pantheon shares only the name of the grandiose monument, and is about the size of one of those little snowglobe thingies you shake). For them, making sure Roma loses could make it a successful season in the end, and perversely make them believe they hold claim to city bragging rights.

Some romanisti have taken a defiant stance and proudly says that losing the scudetto would be better than to receive help from them, to even for 90 minutes support them. See, I don't get that. I don't see why, in the case of Lazio halting Inter and possibly enabling Roma to come back and win lo scudetto, we romanisti would have to thank them. Why we would almost have to put an asterisk next to it, as were it permanently tainted for the small part Lazio played in it happening (which it won't, of course).

I'm different, I guess. Them helping Roma would indeed be the ultimate humiliation; but for them, for the laziali. They would have to escape the city, as they did last time, to get away from the entire capital exploding into joy and spectacular celebrations. They would have to run into the mountains to escape reminder of Roma's success, but as far as they might go they could never outrun the knowledge of having helped us making it happen. That would torture them the most, and no laziale on Earth would after a Roma title seriously be able to act smug and high and mighty by reminding us romanisti we have them to thank. They delude themselves into thinking that's what would happen, that they would gain a permanent ace up the sleeve. No, in fact, we would probably take every chance we had to remind them of it. I know I would.

I'm not too proud to say I hope Lazio stops Inter. It won't happen, but if it did happen...