A few months ago, Tals and I watched a movie called Will, a fictional story of an orphaned child who makes his way across Europe to see the Champions League final in Istanbul in 2005. At the end of the movie, Tals commented how she now better understood the camaraderie of footy fans and hoped that I had the chance to take Nissim to Anfield one day to watch a game.
Tals' comment made me remember one of my fondest moments as a football fan. Despite having being to Anfield to watch Liverpool last year (a dream of mine for over two decades), I still cherish the match I went to see with my father far more. We had lived in Milan for almost two and a half years, two of which I'd spent in boarding school in England. When I returned in the Summer of '94, my parents let me know I wouldn't be returning - we were off to New York. My dad was in a 'footy' state of mind that summer, even watching then entire World Cup final where Italy bowed out to Brazil on penalties after the famous Roberto Baggio penalty miss. I don't really remember all the details of how and why, but my dad and I were outside the San Siro looking for tickets for AC Milan's 1994/95 season opener against Genoa (It was also Ruud Gullit's first game back after a year away at Sampdoria). My dad managed to get two tickets, and we were going in ...
I remember seeing the pitch for the first time ... the smell, the lights, the Milan fans at a frenzy ... it was incredible. I don't remember most of the match unfortunately. I do however remember pointing out Gullit to my dad, and celebrating Marco Simone's winner a few minutes into the second half ... and my favorite moments? Seeing my dad jump up furiously every time one of Genoa's defenders fouled Dejan Savićević and screaming passionately in disgust. That is what really sticks out. You see, my dad was never the biggest sports fan (probably still isn't though he watches far more games nowadays), and here he was enjoying the moment with his son. Still makes me smile till this very day ... something I'll never forget.