“Are you here for business or for pleasure?”
Thats always been a hard question to answer at the customs line. I mean, technically I’m staying with my family in Cusano (a small + quaint little neighborhood on the North side of Milano)…but, for work? Sort of? Is lacrosse work? It’s never felt that way. Well, maybe in college 🙂 but I relent..
I’m the transient of the family. The one who doesn’t need an invitation to visit – you live in an interesting location? I’ll be there. But my Father? He’s more on the safer, pragmatic side. I literally have to go ahead and buy his ticket in order to switch up his normal retiree schedule he’s worked his entire life for. Allora..it’s always a welcome visit from the American side – but getting an current AARP member to commit to a 10 day jaunt visiting family is tough. Explaining we’d be staying in AirBnb spots for the entire trip might have been even tougher..
Perhaps this is similar to the state of lacrosse in Italy. Sure, it’s not hard to convince someone to holiday in Italy, what’s there not to love? The best food in the world combined with wine that people travel thousands of miles to taste, and an amazing landscape that ranges from beautiful southern beaches to the northern Alps and Dolimiti. But, to convince someone to dig further than the roots? Not just scratch the surface, but get in there and get your hands truly dirty. Well, that’s a whole other story. And a whole lot of convincing.
Four-five years ago was the last time I was here in Italy with just my Father. Since then? Ive proudly outnumbered him. Beyond my own family by blood – I have actually found a different set of roots. Lacrosse. Somehow, someway..it’s made the trip across the Atlantic to Italy. When I first went to some of the club practices early on, it simply blew my mind. To see a proudly-American sport being played by Italians – it just seemed utterly random. But the more and more I played, coached, and hung out with these people – the more I learned how similar we all were and how lacrosse was an incredible bond. In a country where there technically is no ladder to climb for our sport, these guys meet up multiple times a week for wall ball, workouts, practices, you name it. They stream NCAA games online, they share YouTube highlight clips of BTB’s , rippers from outside the arc, epic saves – they get just as hype about lacrosse as we do. And for what? Well, all for the love of the sport and the competition within Italy. This is pure love of the game. And to be honest, it’s what compels me to come back every couple of months or so.
Last Sunday there were multiple games being played all over Milan to be the best in Italy for their National Championship. Each and every one was just as important as the last. For 4-5 years now I have been here on the sideline watching these girls grow into women and these boys grow into men. Each year they battle, they come together, and they learn from each other. The attendance is no where near our expectations in the US – but, it’s incredibly pure. And, with today’s state of the sport in the US, that’s sometimes hard to find. But, sport has always been the greatest equalizer – and if you ever need proof, I invite you to nostra casa, nostra nazione, Italia. Because there’s simply something incredibly magical playing a sport that you’ve put so much time, effort, and years of your life into, something that’s given back so much, and to be able to play it in a new and foreign land – well, that’s indescribable.
Interested in visiting Italy and linking up with a lacrosse team? Have some old gear you’d be willing to part with? Curious to help in one way or another? Feel free to reach out; firstname.lastname@example.org
Lindsey Colferai, Assistant Coach Italy Lacrosse
Epoch Women Author