Who, what, when, where, why: This article is based on a span of less than one second. The location is Bar Basso, West 57th St, NY, NY. It is with the Roma Club New York. It is for the derby, clearly. The date is the fourth of December, 2016. Why, well because as any good Romanista will tell you, Forza Roma – Sempre.
Hope – The ball leaves Kevin’s foot
An hour had already passed by. It took weeks to organize this event, to get Bar Basso owner Paolo to agree to host it, and meanwhile Roma were playing like pups rather than wolves. Psssh, any minute it felt like Lazio was going to take the lead – a couple close tries by Immobile in the first half, but the Giallorossi reentered for the second half with something different about them. Their purpose was suddenly tangible.
Bruno Peres was pushing up, in arguably his strongest performance for his new club. Diego Armando Perotti was pulling the strings as expected – cool, calm, and confident as always. Toni Rudiger, who could believe that this kid, less than half a year ago was walking with crutches after a major ACL repair. His effort was nothing short of Herculean that night.
These thoughts were bubbling on the back-burners as we waited for another chance on net. Edin Dzeko had scuffed two. Yet, Roma continued to press. Press they did, as Perotti found the ball from just in front of the Aquile half, and sent a through ground pass to Dzeko. Intercepted by Wallace – but what’s this? A silly contraption of efforts, and Strootman has the ball! Dzeko told to leave the ball! Holy hell, Strootman is in on net!
This one could go in!
Disbelief – Curling, the ball is at the center of its arch
As the ball reached its climax, suspended in midair, a thousand thoughts ran through each one of Bar Basso’s attendants. I think, is it, could it be? The ball looked to be going out from our angle, as the television’s slant made it impossible to tell if it was about to head in or out.
What does this goal mean for us now? Is the season back on track? Have Roma seriously just risen to the occasion and won Lazio’s so-called “Ethnic War?” Are Laziali pigs? Yes. Yes to all. Eyes lit like lovers staring into the moonlight with the finest glass of wine.
Reality – Down, and into goal
The ball is in the back of the net! The net is moving! It’s in! AAAAHHHHHH! Emotion erupted as every tifoso jumped on one another. For a moment, I felt the walls would come crashing down – there would no longer be a Bar Basso – but we were winning! The good guys are ahead!
The chipper had purged Lazio. Relief combined with ecstatic joy, and indescribable feeling assumed the bar.
Strootman was now running to the stands. His recovery had manifested with this goal, even if he was running under an empty Curva Sud. Although the eyes were not there to watch him proclaim his destiny, the hearts of Romanisti around the world embraced him as a true Roman.
The match ended of course with a wondergoal from Radja Nainggolan. Roma were the kings of Rome for 2016, and jubilations lasted until the evening in New York City.
We all laughed, and conversed through our WhatsApp group chat. We had been interviewed on RAI before, at halftime, and at the end of the match, and the club had gained notoriety. The good times will continue to come, in New York and in Rome – and only get better in spite of the FIGC and the re-founding of the Milan Clubs with Chinese money. Without borders, with all the banners, and all the fervor found in none other than Testaccio, The Roma Club New York had solidified itself as a family that Sunday – all in less than a second.