Triviela – Beyond Trivia

The Trivela is a Portuguese term to denote the art of kicking the football with the outside of one’s foot. It is used to hide one’s weaker foot and also to suddenly fool the opposition with a wickedly swerving ball from a difficult angle. In Triviela, we will attempt to find some football feats/facts which would make you sit up and take note, like it happens when you see Ricardo Quaresma try these

Of Lions and Lambs

What is the connection between a martyred third century child saint and football?

St. Mammes of Caesarea with his lamb, seated atop a lion

Legend has it that Mammes was captured and thrown to the lions. He supposedly made the animals docile by preaching to them. So much so that one of the lions remained with him as a companion. The most famous images of him are astride a lion, holding a lamb on his left arm while his right hand holds a shepherd’s stick. Although held captive by soldiers for evading tax, he had escaped them to save this lamb from being attacked by the lion. This show of valour earned him exemption from taxation. He was eventually executed though, by being struck in the stomach by a trident. Stories of him spread to various countries like Cyprus, Lebanon, Greece, Italy and Spain. It is believed that parts of his body were brought back to Spain by pilgrims to Compostela, as relics. These relics are presently located in Bilbao and Zaragoza which later became convents.Let us first learn about this martyr. St. Mammes of Caesarea was born in prison to parents who were incarcerated for being Christian, which was considered to be a crime in the Roman Empire at the time. Caesarea is presently known as Kaysari and is located in central Anatolia in Turkey. His parents were executed and he was brought up by a widow named Ammia who died when he was 15. Mammes endured innumerable trials and tribulations, but his undaunted faith in Christianity was unwavering. He was tortured by the Roman governor of Caesarea and then sent before Aurelian, the emperor of Rome. He was further tortured but is believed to have been liberated by an angel who showed him the way to a nearby mountain cave, where he hid.

Now coming to its connection with the beautiful game called football – the stadium of Athletic Bilbao is named San Mames after the Saint Mammes cathedral which is located next to the ground. This ground is nicknamed “the football cathedral” and not the nou camp or bernabeu, which would be the first choice for most football fans in Spain. The Athletic team is also nicknamed ‘Los Leones’ or the lions, as a tribute to the lions which refused to kill Saint Mammes.

Estadio San Mames

Parting Shot

Athletic Bilbao was originally founded by migrant British port workers in Bilbao and children of Basque noble families who went to England for education. The club had to change its name in 1941 to Athletico Bilbao to adhere to Francisco Franco’s policy of banning non-Castillian Spanish languages. Franco had decreed that Castillian was the official Spanish language and all other languages like Basque and Catalan were banned in the country. Even the names of newborn babies in those periods were changed to placate the dictator. A lot of children who were named Jordi after the patron saint of Catalunya changed to Jorge because of this rule. The change of name was bitterly opposed by the supporters and the general public of Bilbao as it was perceived as a direct threat to their heritage and culture. The policy was relaxed much later in late 1960’s when the club went back to its old name.

They are one of the four professional clubs in Spain – others being Real Madrid, Barcelona and Osasuna in that it is not a sports corporation but is run and owned by associates making it a professional club.

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