san siro

The year is 2006. For another one it’s 2002 or why not 2013? In your heart a feeling of love is growing. And it is not love towards another person, but the feelings are the same if not stronger. Some would call it fanatism, what you feel for your team. Friends,familiars, parents and teachers are tired of you always talking about something that they don’t understand. In the middle of everything you stop, think and understand. You are obsessed with this team. It is no longer a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. You carry the team to school and to work, it effects your mood and you want to share it with everyone and everything. Even to those who don’t understand. Then when you see Cambiasso, or why not Adriano, decide a derby in the last minute you celebrate more than ever at the same time as you think: “Imagine being at the stadium getting to experience that.. what a dream.”

An idea has been planted in your head. Sometimes you think about it more, sometimes less. One thing remains clear, every time you see San Siro on the TV you think about the day you will visit the stadium for the first time. What keeps you from doing it? First it’s the money, then it’s hesitation. How would I make it in a country, where no one understands me, all by myself? 1+1=2 in your head and you understand that this isn’t a trip that you’ll do yourself. Someone helps you. “Join the trip we are arranging.” Nima, Olof, Victor, David, Lena and Daniel are people you write together with on a page and they are arranging a trip, here is your chance. The money? Somehow it all went good, your family who you thought were tired about your talks on football gives you an early birthday present. You are ready, or are you? You don’t know anyone of the persons that you are doing the trip with and soon you are going to a foreign country together. How will it be to travel with someone you don’t know? Will it be hard to find stuff to talk about? Should I go with a friend instead? Then you meet the person and everything feels perfect straight away. After 15 minutes together it is as you’ve been best friends for all of your life. Your travel partner Lena speaks Italian and you are impressed, another idea is planted in your mind. Games, players, memories, history, present and the mercato is discussed into the minimum details until you reach your destination.

You are there, in the city of your dreams and you find it.. not so glamorous. The important thing is that you are in the town where the team you love plays.  You memorize everything. The metro, the bus, the areas, where to go and restaurants, to keep in mind when you are coming here by yourself. You go to sleep feeling that strange feeling, and tomorrow your dream will become reality. What if we lose? It is a fast thought you forget just as fast as it came to mind. In a world where people have problems putting food on the table, there is no time to moan about losing a game, having had the chance to travel to Milan from Stockholm just to watch football. Enjoy, is what you tell yourself before falling asleep. Game day, and you are walking from Lotto. You can see San Siro before you on a long distance, goose bumps cover your whole body. You are fighting to look normal and to take some photo’s, but what you really would want to do is to pick up your chin from the ground and immortalize every second and metre of your walk. “Sia how are you feeling?” Nima shouts hundred metres away, but you can’t even manage to answer. You are just walking there, looking at the stadium before you suddenly realize that Nima isn’t hundred metres away, he is just besides you and is waiting for your answer. “Good.” you say, and Daniel Hamilton on your other side is just laughing. He knows, he understands.

At the stadium you just want to enter. The cold rain that is falling doesn’t matter, the adrenaline is pumping in your vains and all the black and blue besides you warms your sould. You have never been feeling more alive, but that is nothing against the feelings you will feel when it is time to enter the stadium.  It’s time. After a couple of tries you get your ticket to work, at the same time as people are lineing up behind you. Some are looking at you irritated but they understand: The guy is a beginner. You start walking up the stairs. You walk in what seems to be forever. Am I really at the right place? is your last thought before you suddenly have the players warming up before your eyes. The field looks great and to the right you see banners, flags and hear people singing. It’s just as you thought, or no it’s better. If you felt alive five minutes ago, this feeling beats it. All the senses in your body are  onstream and once again you just want to immortalize everything. You look at those who are with you, think about those who made this possible and understand that your dream has become reality. Thank you

Five years later you are back. From the first trip until now you have done almost 20 games. That doesn’t keep you from feeling that special feeling everytime you visit San Siro. This time you are there with a bigger group of 25 persons who are going to see the derby against Milan. They surely also saw Adriano or Cambiasso decide a derby late in the second half, and dreamt of getting to experience something like it. What no-one knows when they gather on Thursday, is that they are about to experience one of the best trips ever and they will experience what supporters all over the world dream about. Being there to see Rodrigo Palacio score a late winner in the derby.

To be continued.

Photo:  Marcus Jokiniemi