A warrior is born through pain, lives through pain and dies through pain. There’s no other way around it; there’s no secret formula or a magic bullet to evade such intelligence. A warrior, a good one, is not born, but made; it’s through life itself that we become what we are meant to be.
And in such spirit, a warrior has to face an enemy, a rival. It doesn’t have to be a war or a monster like it happens in books or movies; it can be a financial crisis, it can be hearing the news that a family member has cancer; it can be the uncertainty of our own future. It can be many things and it’s always going to be tough; such is the nature of the beast.
Kevin Strootman was already a warrior before joining Roma, but I don’t think anyone was expecting what the future was holding for him in both good and bad ways. It seemed, looking back now, as a sort of introduction to the Dutchman where heaven and hell suddenly merged into one. But, isn’t that just like Roma? Paroxysm seems like the club’s natural essence.
That winning streak of ten matches at the beginning of García’s tenure had an instrumental Strooman, an embodiment of technique, guile and power, all in one. For the first time in years, the supports of the good side of Rome were actually in the throes of the moment, fully expecting to kick J’s behind once and for all.
But in such Roman fashion, disgrace had to fall upon all. Strootman had to go through surgery after his injury against Napoli in March of 2014, disjointing Roma in the process. And as time went by, it was no longer about Roma: it was Strootman and the monster he had to face.
It was not one but two major injuries and there’s no need for me to recap those dark moments in the Dutchman’s life. There was neither grace nor glory in that rehabilitation; there was only pain and a healthy degree of stubbornness that made the entire process worthwhile. Roma fans no longer knew if they were going to see Kev on the pitch again.
He did it. He faced the monster and he won. Against all odds and against the uncertainty of it all, Kevin Strootman made his return in the best and most honorable way: through his football and through his quality as a player. Not just a testimonial return, but also a substantial one.
Dutch Jesuus made his revival after going through really dark periods in his career and Spaletti, the board, the players and the fans deserve recognition because of the support to Strootman, but Kev himself deserves the majority of the plaudits: surpassing one of these injuries is already a difficult ordeal; do it twice is something only a chosen few can do.
Warriors are born through pain. Kevin Strootman is a proof of that.