Right before the start of yesterday’s partita (game), I was moved to tears. The city of Florence honored Stefano Borgonovo, a calciatore (soccer player) who played for the Fiorentina. Borgonovo was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease only a couple of years ago and since then the Florentines continue to hold him in their hearts.
A couple of years ago, Borgonovo came to a partita and funds were raised to help find a cure for Lou Gehrig’s disease. This year, more funds were raised by selling a CD that the Fiorentina made with its calciatori singing. Before the partita, he was also honored by Mayor Renzi with a “fiorino d’oro,” the highest honor a citizen of the city could receive.
Before Borgonovo came out onto the campo (field), the Curva Fiesole put up a large banner that read, “Bentornato a casa, Stefano! (Welcome home, Stefano!” Cheers were also sung, “Sei uno di noi! (You’re one of us!)” As people who come to Florence know, the Florentines do not just embrace you at first sight. However, when you become friends with a Florentine, you are in his/her heart forever. To the Florentines, Borgonovo will always be in their hearts.
I am proud to live in a city that has such a great heart. Here people are not forgotten, and some are honored for their amazing courage.
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