Sublime is………………………

If you think about your entire working life, can you spot the most memorable
moment you have experienced? When did you feel to have actually reached the top? Well, in my honorable 25 year teaching career I have no trouble to say, that it happened a couple of years ago. The occasion was a lesson on Burke’s essay ” A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas the Beautiful  and Sublime“. The topic was quite challenging considering that the average student of that class was not much into philosophical debates on aesthetic dualism, but rather into erudite discussion on the best possible scheme to adopt for the next football match. On this they had no rivals and could speak for hours, in any language, if necessary. On such a topic, what kind of feed-back might I have expected?  Very likely the only one I could have had, if I had been in a stadium and started to discourse about the kind of emotions Beauty and Sublime may convey between the first and the second half of the match, I guess.

Whoever has ever read some of my articles is well aware that football is very important to me.  Whenever the subject of the post allows it, my football passion echoes between the lines. I am a supporter of one of the two teams of Rome, in fact: S.S. Lazio. Now, it happens that the class above mentioned, actually, belonged to the other club : A.S. Roma. You have to know this football dualism does not represent only the eternal fight between enemy factions like, Romolo and Remo, the Guelfs and the Ghibellines, the Capulets and the Montagues etc. , but it is more. There are psychological traits that attract you on one side rather the other. The Roma supporters are quite dogmatic: they firmly believe that A.S.Roma is a sort of faith that cannot be discussed, but loved only. That is why they start the season with the utmost certainties of victory, which are regularly shattered after few months. The typical Lazio supporter, on the contrary, is more pessimistic, less dogmatic and open to bitter criticism. They are the yin and the yang of Roman football passion, in short. In  more than a century of disputes even the number of trophies won by both teams is quite similar: just a few. As a rule, if we take 10 supporters, 7 of them usually belong to A.S. Roma and  3 for S.S. Lazio, but in that class the presence of the latters was even below average : one out of 25, as far as I can remember.

Going back to Burke, at the end of the lesson, I could not actually make out the real feed-back, as I mostly saw dumb faces, which looked like masks, the masks of politeness they usually wore whenever they wanted to seem attentive, while they were actually thinking to something else. Therefore, I decided to assign a homework: choose a picture, a drawing etc. which represents the concept of sublime for you and write a comment; hoping they wouldn’t come up with a picture of a pizza Margherita. I had not considered that the day of the assignment, was a Monday, or better, the Monday after what we call the”Derby”, that is, the match of the matches: Rome vs Lazio.

We lost: 4-1 and it was the third time in a row. You may guess how unwilling I was to face all the jokes and mockeries that are the inevitable follow-up after a lost match and I felt that particularly those “scoundrels” might have prepared something. However, when I came into the class they looked a kind of indifferent: no shirts and scarves of their team or pictures scattered around as usual. Nothing. As I knew them well, I didn’t trust this apparent nonchalance and I decided to make some hints, just to excite a reaction, but in vain.  All I had in return was: “Oh, the Derby, yes, we won“.Stop.

So much the better. Since there was nothing to be said about the match I started to check the homework and I said: “Daniele, show me the picture you chose to explain your idea of Sublime!” “Of course“, was his prompt reply, but with an evil smile which I couldn’t miss. And there it was his Sublime. He had a sheet with a patchwork of images of the victory. There was a sneering captain Totti right in the middle and a big inscription at the top in bold : “Sublime is……..Roma 4 – Lazio 1″. As soon as I had finished to read it, I realized that all his other mates, even the girls, were exhibiting the same leaflet with a big smile. They had won, again.



27 thoughts on “Sublime is………………………

  1. How to be subtle, sinister and scheming, all at the same time! If it’s any consolation, Stefy, I think I too, would have the characteristics to be a Lazio fan — if I was remotely interested in football! (With one hand I giveth, with the other I taketh away. 😊)

  2. A friend, a teacher of literature, always says that the most memorable moment of her career came when, after many weeks plodding through ‘Macbeth’ with a non-very-engaged class one girl asked, with a puzzled but dawning-comprehension expression, “Is Macbeth a MAN?”

    • Tell your friend, that after a year course on Hamlet – a year!!! – a girl claimed that Ophelia was Hamlet’s mother. When I mentioned Gertrude, she said: ” Gertrude, who?” 😳😅

  3. Being a Lazio supporter (still wondering how is that possible) really exposes oneself to many, many kinds of mockeries!

  4. Football and philosophy, a pretty damn good partnership.

    I have a soft spot for Roma, but my team is Parma, now Parma Calcio 1913, looking to clamber out Serie B. I remember Football Italia in the early 2000s when Lazio were a top team…and Parma had an amazing squad…glory days.

    • It was 2000 when Lazio won the Italian Foolball Legue. I went to the stadium, sure that we would have arrived only second even that season and the team we had to play against was Parma. A victory would not have been enough to reach the top unless Juventus had lost with Perugia. And you know what? They lost and this is how we managed to win, beating Parma 3-0. Unfornulately the following season was won by A.S.Rome.

  5. now I know why you are so seasoned – 25+ years of teaching!!!
    and I love what that other commenter wrote and must say ditto:

    Football and philosophy, a pretty damn good partnership.

  6. I thought of sublime moments – what a lovely thought, and apart from my first baby sucking her thumb as she was placed in my arms at birth, there was the moment after I had finished giving a talk to a hundred unknown teenagers. I had decided to risk myself, and I talked to them about love. When I finished they stood and stamped and clapped and shouted… they knew love is the only thing that matters !!!!

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