I thought this would be a very interesting topic. Basically, I think it would be fascinating if we could all give a little history of how calcio became such an integral part of our lives.
I will start. I think my love of football began at age 3, when I went to nursery. I was energetic and somewhat aggressive as a child and football was an excellent way of channelling it. I grew up with my mum and gran and I think the lack of a male influence in life inspired my love of football.
My football pitch was my gran's hallway, which wouldn't be able to hold even a team of people. I used the door as a goal and I made up my own football clubs and players using my obsessive knowledge of the world (I learned all world capitals before I began school and knew the various surnames in different countries).
All the kids at school were Manchester United and Celtic fans (stemming from their fathers) but I had no affiliations with these clubs. The only football on TV was Italian. Early memories go back to Signori and of course, Ravanelli (grey hair and stripping was appealing at that age). Lazio has always brought me joy on sad days. I remember Lazio winning when my dog died and I felt no pain about that at all. A family relative died the day Lazio won the UEFA Supercup against Manchester United. Again, no pain, just shouting at the television and crying when we won. The following day, I "came out" to all my friends and said I was a Lazio fan! Each season, the love, it grows.
Heroes? Almeyda and Conceicao. When I was 9, I got my mother to make me a headband and on it I wrote "Almeyda" and beside it, I put in the Nike tick! I used to wear it when I played football on the sloped pitch below my house. It was useless as I had tight curly hair and I guess trying to gel it so it looked like Conceicao's hair was a massive fail too!
I live in a small bungalow in a council estate, so my childhood is characterised by mass football games with the older boys in the locality. I was the tall attacking midfielder who missed open nets but could shoot from distance and make pinpoint passes (like a decent Mauri). Being both footed helped! I never played for a club because I could never give the same passion for a team than I could with my mates.
At primary school, the 4 senior years were allowed to play football. I prided myself on being one of the top scorers each season. We used to do a World Cup at the end of the year, made up of 32 teams, a knockout. First two seasons, lost in round one. Third season, made semis. Scored 2 goals in the first minute of the semi but we conceded 2 late on. Penalty shootout was the following day and I hit the post with my effort. The last season I lost again in round one. 2-0 down but such a proud day. Should have been 2-1, I ran the length of the pitch and with a temper, I booted the ball into the corner of the net. Problem was, I hit it so hard it went through the net and was called wide. When I calmed down, I was proud!
I love my local side, Redcastle United. It is a small village of less than 1000 inhabitants but we have won 2 League titles in 2006 and 2007 after promotion in 2005 and this season, we lost the league on the final day. We got to the quarter finals of the amateur cup of Ireland losing to the eventual champions on penalties. Had we won that game, we would have been entered into the first round draw for the actual professional Irish Cup
Finn Harps is the professional Irish club I support. Not a successful side at all. They play their games one and a half hours away from me (by car) and their archrivals are Derry City, who play much closer to me (15 minutes by car) but Ireland goes by counties and as I am from the same county as Finn Harps, it would be unforgivable not to cheer them on.
As you can see, life revolves around football and more so, Lazio. Ultimate dream is to go live in Rome as soon as I get married and then move back home when I have kids. I would give up all I know for Lazio, such is the extent of my passion. Truly a case of Forza Lazio Forever!
Would be cool if some others shared their tales!