Soccer, is known as the #1 sport in Europe, and that includes Romania. It’s known under the name of “footfall” or “fotbal” in Romania’s case. American football is a completely different sport than that of European soccer.
In Romania, back in the 80’s when I was a kid, there were two major teams- it could be said there was only one major team but I won’t. Steaua, or the best team in the whole country and Dinamo, an inferior version. These teams represented something: the regular folk, something along the lines of LLC Joe Regular Dude, in the case of Steaua, and on the other side, LLC Corruption and Proud of It, also nicknamed “the red dogs” which included the police and all corrupt communists in the case of Dinamo.
Performance wise, Steaua leaded with flying colors. Dinamo, who never won a championship, preferred to spend their time sabotaging Steaua instead of actually practicing and getting better in their soccer playing skills.
My family, myself included, rooted for Steaua -well…at least most of us. Gica Hagi was a favorite to most of my brothers and Miodrag Belodedici of yours truely:) Helmuth Duckadam, however, earned my respect as the best goalkeeper of all times, and soon after watching him play I became a goalie in our childish soccer games played in or around the apartment’s courtyard if not at school during sport class.
These great national celebrities- Steaua’s soccer players, among some- in real life didn’t have the wealth sports celebrities have here in America. The socialistic communistic system didn’t allow it. (Nadia Comaneci came and settled in America and that was part of the reason). Fame, according to the system was just another tool to promote a political system, a system whom in reality didn’t work at all for 90% of it’s population.
But I can say without hesitation Steaua’s soccer team’s players during the 80s were hardworking and very talented bunch. With every game, waves of laud cheers were heard echoing throughout the city, a memory I’m fond of. I’m sure after you read these lines some of you will feel the same:)