Welcome to the refreshed Serpents of Madonnina! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
My path to discovering (and falling in love with) a club called FC Internazionale Milano began probably when I was around 8 or 9 years old when I was playing in youth soccer leagues as a center-back. Even at that young age I pretty much had my style of play figured out, a partial reliance upon my speed but primarily a very aggressive and physical style that did not leave me with very many friends from opposing teams, especially if they were a striker. Basically my style of play back then could be summarized as follows: good luck getting past me, but if you do expect a good (and occasionally quite hard) tactical foul to be coming. I didn’t fully understand the dark arts of defending at the time, but I knew that fear and a clipped ankle or two generally went a long way towards subduing an opposition front line. A lot of my teammates had players they looked up to and tried to emulate; for a while I didn’t have one, but that changed after the summer of 2006.
I watched soccer games from time to time before that but the 2006 World Cup was when I really began watching a lot, and it was there that I found my mentor: Marco Materazzi. His first start for Italy was in the Round of 16 against Australia and in the second half he got a straight red card for taking out an opposition attacker who had a chance to go clear on goal. I remember watching that and having three thoughts: “That was smart. I would’ve done something like that. I like this guy.” Materazzi went on to play in the Semi-finals against Germany and the infamous Final against France. After watching his performances, I knew that I had found my coach in how to master the dark arts of defending. While I somehow never got around to checking which club team he played for during that summer, the red string of fate that tied me to Inter would still keep a hold on me though I did not realize it yet.
That October for my birthday one of the gifts my parents got me and my brother (our birthdays are a day apart) was FIFA 07. Before picking a team to use in the game (and thus to support) I decided to do some research, or at least as much research as a twelve year old could do. When my oldest brother announced a partial support for AC Milan, I decided to look into their rivals because who wouldn’t want the opportunity to mercilessly tease your sibling because their favorite team lost to their rival? Though I first looked up Inter for that reason alone, I soon realized that this was the club for me upon noticing two pieces of information. First, I found the story behind the club’s foundation. The fact that Inter was formed when members of the original Milan club broke away due to the breakaway members not wanting to limit the number of foreign players inspired me more than any other club I had looked into before did. This club was formed based upon not just wanting to win trophies or make money, this club was formed based upon a principle of openness, inclusion, and camaraderie. They didn’t care where you were from, if you could play you were welcome. In that moment I knew that I could support this team 100% because if that was the philosophy with the team it must be the same with the fans. It didn’t matter that I was some random twelve year old from America who had just stumbled upon Inter, as long as I loved the club I would be welcome, I would be one of the brothers of the world. Then I looked at the club roster, saw that Materazzi was on this team and knew that this was fate.
Since that 06-07 season I have watched Inter as often as I can and I have only fallen more and more in love with this club. While Matrix partially brought me to Inter and while there have certainly been other players at the club that captivated me, I am a fan of the team not any one player which has allowed me to keep going despite some questionable decisions made by management in years past. No matter how infuriating they can be those nerazzurri stripes have a hold on my heart and I cannot imagine things being any other way. For better or for worse I am an Inter fan, and I’m crazy for them.
I have some news that I need to announce to all of the readers of the site, I’ve been sitting on it for a while waiting for the right opportunity and I think this story is the best time and place to share it. I will be stepping down as managing editor of Serpents of Madonnina sometime within the next week or two, maybe three depending on the transition. My life has been getting busier and busier with law school and other things, and this site should have somebody in charge of it that can devote the time and resources that this fan-base deserves.
I won’t be completely disappearing though. I plan on being a fairly regular presence in the comment section, and I will probably try to write the occasional guest article if the next managing editor will have me. The past nearly two and a half years I’ve been a contributor here have been an amazing experience, and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to write here. I’m even more grateful for all of you readers who were willing to actually read my sometimes incoherent thoughts and ramblings. You all have been what motivates me to write all this time, and I just want to thank you.