You're not here for trophies, and you're not here for the glory. You're not living vicariously through the silverware of Big Club FC because daddy never hugged you and your self-worth is inextricably linked to the triumphs of men you'll never meet. You're here because of some inexplicable, indefinable magnetism to a club which has a heart beating a thousand thundering horses through a city packed with tourists, yet echoing as though the streets are barren. Perhaps it was the shirt, or the city, or Francesco. Or maybe due to an organic brain disease. Whatever the reason, you're not here because of the mind, but because of something deeper. This club is not the smart choice. This is the road less taken, and unwisely. There is nothing but great chance of heartbreak behind these cracked walls through which you cling to the light. It is not the safety of the shore, the nestled warmth of your favorite blanket, or the embrace of a true love. It is standing in the rain, hand in hand with millions of others, watching the storm brew a bastard's squall on the horizon, sky black, water blacker, veins pumping into each other's hands, and emphatically declaring with huffed chest, "Yes, I want this."
The suits have built a vacuum in shameless attempts to construct a massive fanbase - an empire. Some of you are new here. Maybe you learned about this 'Totti' fellow during the MLS All-Star game. He's okay, if you're into that sort of thing. But if you're old hat, if you know the lyrics to Mai Sola Mai, or you could pick out Panucci at the far post without looking, or you can tell us how Giuseppe Giannini moved about the midfield, then you know. You know. You know what's coming. For most teams, nine months of tactical acumen and a point structure generally representative of the quality of its personnel. Not Roma. For Roma, it is a long-dogged battle against itself. Eleven men taking on twenty-two for ninety minutes. A city impatient. A squad insecure. A fanbase suffering. Hope is inevitable, but so too is disappointment, as hope is often masking unrealistic expectation. Rome is not a city of realism, but neither is hope a function of pragmatism. If you really want to prepare for a Roma season, tactics, depth charts, and statistics serve little purpose.
Roma is not the sum of its parts on paper. She is not a crest. She is not the names on the back of the shirt but perhaps for one. Roma is the dueling dichotomy of joy and sorrow, of lust and loathing, of affirmation and heartbreak, of lung-scarring screams and...more. Of you and I. A blinded devotion rooted in the purest love teased with the kiss of death.
There will be time for the more standard fare, a proper preview, but this year, a little something different - a bit non-traditional. So in embarking on yet another journey with this thing they call 'Roma', one can't prepare the mind - you have to prepare your soul. One by one by one.
First up will be one of the new guys. Say hi.