The City as a Playground
LHE now has a soccer team. It all started in Sarajevo when walking down from Kapa Hill to Bascarsija; somebody kicked a stone and the game happened automatically. We all took positions and passed the stone around while running downhill towards our last dance in the Western Balkans. The match was interrupted abruptly when we entered the Underground bar but we agreed to continue playing in Rome.
A few days later we initiated the LHE squadra. Our first mission was to find a ball and uniforms for the team. Dressed up in green maglias, we wandered the streets of Rome, following the erratic course of the ball and generating unexpected encounters. We played in the Quirinale, the fruit market, Piazza Navona, Vittorio Emanuele, the Museo dell'Ara Pacis, and the Colosseo, challenging the city to participate in our game. We found opponents of exquisite technique and unforgettable enthusiasm. Everywhere we searched for new spots to play ball, turning the city into a playground and testing the limits established by its authorities.
Playing this game allowed us to experience the sinuous topography of the city, its textures and movements. We ran across its inclined alleyways and piazzas, exploring the diverse rugosities of its surfaces. It also gave us the opportunity to discover the nature of its residents by observing their reactions towards the game. Romans did not hesitate to participate in it and could not resist passing the ball; let’s not forget we were playing with the world champions.
Most importantly, being players allowed us to interact with the city in a more personal way. It was the perfect costume to avoid being architects, artists, or tourists. People did not pay attention to our cameras anymore.
Now, they only asked, "In what squadra do you play?"
We told them we were part of a team called “LHE” from Belgrade.
Even though the whole story sounds a little suspicious due to our lack of skill and our improvised uniforms, (names and Roman numbers made out of masking tape), people took us very seriously. We were invited to play in a real field against some local team the next time we visit Rome. If we plan to continue the game in the future, the big challenge is to learn how to play, or at least how to do a couple of tricks in order to support our story. (Besides player #II, we all suck). It could turn into a method to explore both the physical and social dimensions of cities. The ball bounces differently everywhere, just like the interactions it provokes are related to every culture.
Where will we play next?
Roma team: Laia Sole, Giulia Fiocca, Paola Velasquez and Pilar Ortiz :: Played on August 28-30, 2006
Positions open :: Sign up today