Final Mica and Final Mare
Inside a Romanian sports complex I learned about simple passions and simple pleasures.
Last May, while walking along the eastern edge of Sibiu’s medieval walls, I saw the first VSB scrawled in green spray paint on a nearby building. I was in Romania to teach a short course on American literature and culture to local university students, and every day offered a new lens on the overlap of familiar and strange. Romania has enough commonalities with Spanish that reading menus and signs was simple enough, but the pronunciation of a wealth of diacritical marks — breves and carons and hooks — meant spoken language was often a mystery that my own stubbornness made impossible to solve. Why ask when I could try to tease it out myself?
But the green VSB didn’t decode, even though it was everywhere, at eye level, with no flourishes, no real artistry. It wasn’t until I saw another wall reading Voinţa Hooligans Sibiu that it made sense as a reference to the local professional soccer team. Though the work of a few recognizable street artists recurred throughout the city, the Voinţa Sib…