Life Divided Between Top League Sports and Economics ExamsLORENZO MASSELLI, 21, IS A BOCCONI STUDENT IN MILAN AND SECOND AND BACK ROW FOR SITAV LYONS RUGBY IN PIACENZA. AND HE JUST GOT A CALL FROM THE ZEBRE. 'MY DREAM IS TO PLAY ON THE ITALIAN NATIONAL TEAM BUT CLASSES ARE STILL MY PRIORITY'
An early wake-up call, the gym, studying, training, exams, weekend games, lots of sacrifices and a life split between Milan and Piacenza. Lorenzo Masselli, a student in his third year of the Bachelor of Science in International Economics and Management who plays for Sitav Rugby Lyons in Piacenza on the second and back rows, does all this to follow his dream: to play on the Italian national rugby team. “The word sacrifice might not really be the right one. I’m happy with my life as an athlete and a student and I don’t regret the choices I’ve made: rugby teaches me dedication and the value of teamwork, Bocconi teaches me how to manage my time and how to relate with people from all over the world.”
At six foot four inches and 21 years old, Lorenzo is getting closer to his dream every day. He recently signed as a “permit player” in the Zebre, the Italian professional franchise. The team competes in GuinnessPro14, the rugby union competition that includes teams from Wales, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and South Africa. “It’s an honor for a Serie A player,” he says. In 2016, he moved to Italy from South Africa to play rugby, then decided to stay, after “falling in love with Italy,” and enroll in Bocconi. “But I had to turn down my first chance to substitute a player because I had to take an exam at that time, so I’m waiting for my next opportunity.” Lorenzo believes in the importance of getting a college education. “After graduation, I would like to continue my studies, thinking about the long term: when I can’t play anymore, I want to have a career, maybe as a sports manager.”
Born in Johannesburg, Lorenzo’s mom is South African and his dad is originally from Tuscany. He says the life of a top-tier athlete needs to be well-balanced: “I always try to dedicate the right amount to studying and training, while allowing for some free time and time with friends. It’s not healthy to focus too much on just one aspect of your life, something is always lost,” explains Lorenzo. A love for sports is a family tradition: he started playing rugby when he was 7. “My parents are my biggest fans. My father played rugby when he was in school, and we always watch rugby games and cricket matches, another sport I love and I’ve played with my sister Raffaella, who now studies in the UK and plays netball,” he says. “I do miss home sometimes, but to achieve my goals, I’d do it all over again: the great thing about rugby is that it’s a constant physical and mental challenge not only against my opponents, but also against myself. And I’m definitely not giving up.”
by Benedetta Ciotto
Translated by Jenna Walker