Jun 30, 2010 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
World Cup rekindles MacArthur Stadium memories
A good friend of mine, who’s of Italian ancestry, asked me who I liked in the World Cup. I had to explain that “futbol” is one game I no longer follow to any degree.
Four decades ago, I must’ve still had an open mind. When I was a teenager in the 1960s, my younger brother, Jim, and I were fans of the Syracuse Scorpions, a soccer team in the North American Soccer League (or something like that), a minor-league for sure, but professional players mostly from the Caribbean.
The games were played across the outfield at MacArthur Stadium, a big old wooden baseball stadium of 8,416 seats erected (as Municipal Stadium) in 1934 on the North Side of Syracuse. In the 1960s, that part of town was mainly an Italian neighborhood.
They worshipped at Our Lady of Pompei, St. John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist, Assumption Church, and they operated coffee-and-biscotti shops where you could buy creamy canolis and thick dark European-style coffee blends, and maybe even place a bet on your favorite American football team. There were import grocery stores, sausage markets, pizza parlors, tailors, cobblers, the Columbus Bakery you get the picture.
So the stadium was just a stone’s throw from that vibrant Italian neighborhood, so, of course, who came to the futbol games when the Scorpions were in town?
Yeah, all the old Italian guys — not many ladies, mostly guys and mostly old — but wow, they were serious about the game and held absolutely nothing back when cheering the Scorpions on to the net.
That really impressed my brother and I who were used to the relatively quiet and polite crowds at the Chiefs baseball game. I mean baseball fans may get drunk and rowdy every now and then, maybe give an umpire and earful or even loudly point out a particular player’s deficiencies (“You couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, you bum!”), but those Italian soccer fans made baseball fans look like boy scouts.
So I can imagine how much enthusiasm the rest of the world is experiencing right now over the World Cup. But for me — even though I relish a 1-0 pitcher’s duel — I have a hard time getting excited about games, like soccer, in which a typical score is nil-nil.
I suspect that the soccer scene in the U.S. has blossomed partly because it’s a great participatory sport. I played on a club team briefly back in high school, and was amazed to learn how to kick with the outside of my right foot. Before that, I’d always used my toe.
Anyhow, given the budget problems faced nowadays by virtually all school districts, high-school athletic departments find it far less expensive to field boys’ and girls’ soccer teams than almost any other sport except maybe track.
Sadly, for all Italian futbol fans whether living on the boot or on the North Side or here in Liverpool, Italy was one of the first teams eliminated from this year’s World Cup competition.
Looks like Mother’s restaurant will morph into a Limp Lizard barbecue after all.
The LL catering truck was spotted in front of the First Street eatery on June 7 and again June 19, the day after a sign went up indicating the place is “closed for renovations.”
Further confirmation came at the June 21 village board meeting when property owner Tommy Juliano informed the trustees of plans to install some new equipment a smoker grill perhaps?
Did you feel it?
Our bunny rabbit sure did! In fact, he felt it long before the rest of us.
On the morning of the 5.0 earthquake out of Quebec which reverberated here in CNY, Pookah had refused to budge from his cage. In fact he laid there prone, with his little legs clinging to his sawdust floor. The quake struck a few hours later at 1:41 p.m. Wednesday, June 23. Next morning, Pookah hopped around the house as usual, happy that his world had stopped shaking.