You're at a crowded party, with lots of people you don't know, but you see one particular stranger wearing a Fiorentina jersey. How do you introduce yourself?
Huw: With a terrible joke. Not a clever one. Not a funny one. Probably about Mario Gomez. This will probably fail, so I’ll start cursing out Juventus something rotten. I find this is really crowd pleasing material. Everyone hates old ladies. Or so I gather from my attempts at translating various Florentine graffiti.
Tito: I am never at crowded parties. I sit at home, with the lights off, and watch replays of Rossi beating Juve. Were I to find myself in that situation, I'd probably sidle up to that person when they weren't talking to anyone else and say something like, "Nice shirt, bro. You think they have a shot at finishing in the Champions League places this year?"
Chris: The first words that would come from my mouth would be "Ohhh Fiorentina", and I would continue to recite the entire first verse and chorus of the Fiorentina Anthem. I would then start, and probably not stop talking about the Viola to him or her for the rest of the night.
Nolan: I would awkwardly approach them and ask them if they are actually a fan, before breaking out the witty banter. I tend to bring up Serie A with every Italian I ever meet at parties, and the overwhelming majority are Juve fans, which is unfortunate.
Whereabouts are you based?
Tito: I live in Austin, Texas. Coincidentally, I live about a mile (in Texas terms, that's pretty much spitting distance) of Viola Nation commenter DiPro, whom I have never actually met.
Nolan: New York City, Brooklyn to be exact. I'm from the suburbs around here and have returned after time spent in Montreal and Washington DC.
Chris: I am from Glen Cove, New York, about an hour outside of Manhattan.
Huw: I’ve just got back to Florence (like, in the last few days) after four years away. After I finished university, I was here for about nine months. I left when Mihajlović was throwing an ugly, empty sack of broken ideas against a crumbly wall. I had to watch all the excitement of the Montella years via expensive television channels and shoddy streams. Now I’m back, Montella’s been bounced, and instead I’m left wondering what the Switzerland-conquering Paulo Sousa has up his Portuguese sleeve. Toblerone, probably. Hopefully.
What do you do when you aren't irrationally angry (or happy, I suppose, but that's less likely) about the actions of 23 people on a rectangular grass surface?
Huw: I write stuff for money. All sorts of things, including boring business copywriting, marketing stuff, SEO bits and pieces. So I’m sat around with a laptop most of the day conspiring to not do any work. Ideally, I’ll be rocking up at every Fiorentina game this year, getting to know you guys, and discovering more about the Viola Nation community. And I’m trying to relearn all of the Italian I’ve forgotten. Oh, and going to the pub. I like to go to the pub.
Chris: When not agonizing or just ranting about a few specific individuals on the pitch over in Italy, I usually find myself in misery over the actions of a few of my other favorite sports teams. Along with Fiorentina, I am a Mets, Jets, and Islanders fan … and if you don’t know, those teams are like the Fiorentina of their respective sports [Lorenzo's note: whoa whoa whoa, Fiorentina are not the Islanders. Not even, like, Catania are the Islanders]. I also attend Pepperdine University, and I broadcast for their baseball team.
Nolan: During the day, I'm a financial compliance drone. Beyond that, I'm a pretty big fan of other sports too, in particular hockey (go Habs go). When not yelling at people running around on my TV, I'm into cinema, and lounging around bars and cafes. The community here might know me mostly as a fan of all things Latin America for reasons I can't explain.
Tito: In my non-Viola time, I work for 911, play soccer--although my irregular schedule means I can't keep playing with my league team and am thus relegated to pick-up games--play the drums in a distinctly mediocre band, and spend time with my really excellent girlfriend, who is entirely too good for me. Other than that, you know, the usual: drive around, bowl, the occasional acid flashback. [Lorenzo's note: we at Viola Nation do not condone recreational drug use. Unless you live in Texas]
Do you have favorite Fiorentina players, now and all time?
Tito: Top five former players, in no particular order: Di Livio, Liverani, Frey, Toni, Ujfalusi. Top five current players, in no particular order: Gonzalo, Fernandez, Joaquin, Borja, Babacar (no Rossi until he actually plays again).
Nolan: Currently I'm in love with Gonzalo Rodriguez, and basically all of the Villarreal veterans. Of all time, there's a certian Gabriel Batistuta I'm a fan of. I own a DVD of Batigol highlights.
Huw: I could write novels about my first forays into the world of Championship Manager and signing Batistuta on every single save. Back in the days when the game was essentially a spreadsheet with MS-DOS dressings, we ruled the world together. We conquered leagues all over Europe. Plus he looked a bit like Nic Cage in Con Air. Love at first sight. Well, not sight. Love at all those little number attributes. A database romance. This sounds weird, doesn’t it?
These days, David Pizarro is just great. He looks a bit like the baffled straight man in a Chilean comedy cop duo. But he plays like the only man with treacle-proof shoes at the golden syrup factory, moving with that half an extra yard in his head. And now he might be going and I am sad.
Chris: Now: Gonzalo Rodriguez, Baba, and Mr. Diamanti. When I watched those three play, I saw hustle, they played with an edge, and they had a will to win. Past: Batistuta. When talking about Fiorentina, one cannot go more than a few minutes without talking about the incredible striker, and all the incredible moments he provided for the Viola.
Favorite moment as a Viola fan?
Chris: There is one moment as a Viola fan that I will never forget. March 5th 2015, driving up with 50 bus loads of the purple clad army from Florence to Turin. I walked into Juventus Stadium, and watched Mr. Salah score twice as Fiorentina defeated Juve 2-1. In all the sporting events that I have ever attended, I’ve never seen pure delirium like I felt around me, standing in the visitors section after Salah scored that second, game winning goal.
Nolan: The 2013 4-2 comeback against Juventus was an emotional roller coaster that ended on a high note. I also loved what the team did in the 09-10 Champion's League run, even if it ended with us getting robbed by the ref. I still haven't gotten over that.
Huw: Big fan of that time Delio Rossi punched Ljajić. But really that Guiseppe Rossi hat trick against Juve. That was something special. I won’t try and ruin it with my crass words. It lives on in our hearts and minds. And YouTube. Especially YouTube.
Tito: Rossi vs Juventus. For ever. Also beating Liverpool at Anfield. And, because I am a masochist and like being sad, that tie with Bayern, which Fiorentina nearly won in spite of the single worst refereeing performance I have ever witnessed in a professional game in any sport. I pick that third one because the spirit and dignity exhibited in the face of crushing injustice is a big part of why I still love this club.
Pick a song to describe Fiorentina right now.
Huw: "A Little Lost" by Arthur Russel. I can’t remember the route to the stadium and I have no idea how Sousa will be as a manager. But I do like this song.
Nolan: "What's Up" by 4 Non Blonde's. Because quite frankly, what IS going on? I'm not really sure what direction this club is taking right now, for better or worse.
Tito: "The Fake Headlines" by The New Pornographers. Although pretty much every song on that album applies to the club right now: Mass Romantic,The Slow Descent into Alcoholism, Mystery Hours, Execution Day. Maybe The Mary Martin Show not so much. That whole album also applies to life, man.
Any questions for the Viola Nation community?
Tito: I guess the thing I'd like to ask is for a list of reputable websites to monitor for transfer news, especially in this silliest of seasons.
Huw: Is Sousa actually any good? Which Italian phone network has the best deal on mobile wi-fi without a contract? What exactly is it that makes my Welsh blood so delicious to all these Italian mosquitos?
Chris: Next season, does Fiorentina look to win the Europa League? Or should we focus on the long, strenuous Serie A season, and try to find ourselves in a position to finish with a Champions League bid?
Nolan: Mostly I just want to know what kind of features you guys want to see more of.
Also, when the zombie invasion begins and you could grab one weapon, what would it be?