It’s time to wrap up Jersey Week here at BWRAO with a smile.
It’s something that continues to put a smile on my face, and the goal is to make you feel the same way. Lord knows we need as much of that as possible with so much uncertainty, so much stress and so much news that is just pushing or emotions and anxiety all over the place whenever we look at our various pieces of technology.
This is a post about Juventus jerseys — but with a twist.
These days, all of us have plenty of time to kill on social media. And earlier this week, I was doing just that on a day off from work. It was during that time — when, exactly, I have no idea because in a COVID-19 world there’s really no sense of time when you’re not at work and facing deadlines — I came across a post from Gianluigi Buffon that instantly put a smile on my face.
That, as you can figure out, is Juventus’ famed BBC defense of Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini represented on the back of personal protective equipment (PPE) at a hospital in Italy. It’s the kind of defense that did so well on the field, that you only hope has the same kind of impact in a hospital, you know? And it’s just a pretty damn cool thing to see when you consider the context of what is going on at said hospital right now.
Because Buffon posted something that involved medical workers turning their PPE into makeshift jerseys, I got curious. Seeing as how players are showing more and more appreciation for frontline workers at hospitals both in Italy, around Europe and what seems like just about every hotspot in the world right now, there had to be some kind of possibility that Buffon’s picture wasn’t the only one of its kind ... right?
Turns out, as the last couple of weeks have gone by, it’s become more and more prominent. Take, say, Juventus Women goalkeeper Laura Giuliani, who posted this last weekend:
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Come sempre, è tutta questione di prospettiva.. Vedere il mio cognome su quel camice mi fa sentire in qualche modo un pochino più vicina a voi.. Anche a Km di distanza.. ❤️ Ognuno, a suo modo, ha scritto sulla schiena il N.1 • #distantimavicini #numeriuno #lg1 #heroes #pariamoilcoronavirus #unopertuttituttiperuno
No, that is not my goalkeeper bias showing, although it always helps that Giuliani is one of the better Juventus-related social media follows out there. (TUXEDO CAT TOBY CONTENT!) Turns out, it’s something plenty of Juventus players have been seeing appear on their timelines.
Giuliani’s Juventus Women teammates Martina Rosucci and Cristiana Girelli have posted about it on their respective Instagram accounts over the last couple of days. Paulo Dybala has posted about it as well, with a lot of folks showing their support for Juve’s No. 10 as he tries to get back to a clean bill of health after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-March.
No matter what player they’ve chosen, the motivation is clear: Italian medical personnel are using their favorite athletes to try and help them get through what is absolutely some of the most trying times of their profession careers.
The cool thing about it? This isn’t something that’s only happening in Italy.
One of the more noteworthy stories of this fashion here just so happened to be here in the United States at a hospital in my hometown of Oakland, California. There, a nurse by the name of Shelby Delaney saw a social media post of her showing off a Stephen Curry jersey under her scrubs go viral right as the coronavirus outbreak was starting to truly hit the state of California hard in early April. Little did she know that her picture was going to catch the attention of Curry, who ended up talking to the 27-year-old nurse and her coworkers via FaceTime to show his appreciation for everything that they were doing.
Just think about it for a minute.
You’re a nurse or a doctor who has been working countless hours for weeks and weeks — if not months now — during a pandemic that your country hasn’t been seen in decades, maybe even a century or two. And if you’re in Italy, one of the hardest hit countries in the world, it’s been like this for going on three months, with the reality of putting your own health in danger while trying to save the lives of coronavirus-infected Italians each and every day a given. And maybe the last few days or weeks you’ve been really struggling, with the mental and emotional toll — on top of the physical one, of course — continuing to grind you down.
So, you decide to do what a lot of people do — look to their favorite athlete for inspiration.
The reason why your favorite athlete is your favorite athlete differs from person to person. It might be as simple as “He’s my guy!!” and then that’s that. You might have heard the career path of somebody like, say, Giuliani, who had to work a side job while playing in Germany just to be able to pay the bills, and you found inspiration from what she has been through to try and achieve her dream. Or, your club signed them a few years ago, you got to follow said player on a much more regular basis and then the snowball just went rolling out of control. There’s no concrete path to why your favorite player is your favorite player, but they’re the one you want to be like when a tough moment arrives.
The latest sign of who loves who: They’re the name and number on the back of your PPE during that day’s shift. And then to have it come full circle and your favorite player acknowledges your photo and thanks you for the job that you’re doing each and every day ... that has to be the rush of adrenaline and bring you such joy during a global pandemic that has 3.5 million cases worldwide as of this writing.
It’s this kind of stuff, while we’re all quarantining and self-isolating to try and flatten the curve wherever we live, that brings a smile to my face no matter how many times I see it. It’s something small, it’s something that will never be award the best kit of the decade or anything like that, but it’s a positive note during a time when we need and prop up every single one of them.
Nurses and doctors in Italy — and around the world — deserve all the praise they can get. And then again, and again, and again ... and again.
And when they get it from their favorite Serie A player, too ... it’s a wonderful thing.