Lazio squad celebrating, Source- ESPN.com
The Lazio squad celebrating a goal, Source- ESPN.com

 

Everyone has a story. Everyone has a reason as to why a club means so much to them. Being a fan of a football club, the passion runs deep in your veins, it is almost engrained in you, passed on from generation to generation. My Lazio love story begins with my grandfather.

Growing up in a Italian family based from Rome, having football on in the background while eating Sunday pasta was a very common sight. I remember as a child being fascinated by the fans chanting, the beautiful stadiums, the green grass and most importantly our “biancoceleste”. I was still too young to fully understand everything, but I saw how important this team and this sport was to my grandfather and to our Roman culture.

The year is 2000. My grandfather attended one of my soccer tournaments and after the game bought me my first ever Lazio jersey. As we all know, Lazio had just won their second Scudetto captained by Alessandro Nesta. The jersey already had special meaning to me coming from my grandfather, but also being the jersey Lazio wore that memorable Scudetto season.

As the years went on, I became a passionate fan, constantly discussing the state of our “biancoceleste” with my grandfather, the team he made me fall in love with. Sadly, he passed away unexpectedly a few years later, which shattered me to pieces. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through, but the one thing that kept me close to him and his memory, was the bond we shared for our club, the team he introduced me to – S.S. Lazio.

Fast forward to present day when my wife and I were expecting our first child. Our son was born on May 17th of 2017, the same day of the Coppa Italia final between my beloved Lazio and Juventus. As a tribute to my grandfather, I decided to buy my newborn son his first ever Lazio jersey, the same they wore the day he was born. Unfortunately Lazio did not win that day, but that was only slight disappointment compared to what my wife and I would go through in the coming days.

My son fell very ill, and we were rushed to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a very rare immune system disease that no one really knew much about. Once again I was going through the toughest time of my life, similar to my grandfathers passing. When days turned into months and, months turned into an entire year at the hospital, there was one team that helped me get through the tough times. One team that was my only distraction from the everyday worries. One team that put a smile on my face time and time again. My beloved Lazio.

I decided to wear my son’s jersey for the Super Cup matchup against Juventus at the start of the season, which I watched with him at the hospital. The joy they brought me that day will forever go down as one of my all time favorite sporting moments. They brought happiness to my life for a brief moment, which I hadn’t felt in quite some time. I knew it was the start of a special year for our team.

From Ciro Immobile’s incredible goal scoring form, Luis Alberto’s magician like play, to Milinkovic-Savic’s total dominance in the midfield, this Lazio team allowed us to dream. They brought us on a European journey in the Europa League, a Coppa Italia semi-final and finally a crazy race to finish in a Champion’s league spot for next season. Although there was extreme heartbreak in all three of these competitions, this Lazio team made me a proud supporter all season long and really helped get me through dark times in my life.

All I want to say is thank you Lazio from the bottom of my heart! This is what calcio is all about, bringing people together. This is my love story for ‘my’ team, ‘our’ team, I hope you enjoyed the read and cannot wait to pass on my passion for this team to my son, just like my grandfather did for me.

Sempre Forza Lazio!