My name is Lorenzo Melchiorre, I’m 23 years old and I am a battered bastard.
Football has been in my blood since birth. I come from a long line of Italian family who are high school, college, CFL, and even NFL legends. Including my Dad, Anthony C. Melchiorre Sr., who played running back and full back, four years at Boston College.
Growing up my Dad didn’t want me to play football, at least not at a young age. He wanted me to wait until I was in middle school to start playing. He just knew the life that was in store if I played football. My mother also hated/ still hates to see me even get tackled. She only became okay with me playing, because she knew it was inevitable that I would fall in love with this game.
She knew it was inevitable that I would fall in love with this game.
My parents tried so hard to get me in every sport but football, because it was clear all my energy was focused on catching, running, and throwing a football since two! By four, I was skiing, snowboarding, gymnastics, karate, soccer, and wrestling. Most of those were because my older sister was already in them, and I wouldn’t stay still at her classes, so they signed me up. Before you knew it, I was 9 years old and I was on an Olympic development team for gymnastics, States champion for wrestling, Winning karate tournaments, and snowboarding competitively.
My parents couldn’t keep up with everything going on, including my other siblings, all involved in their own activities. We lived on the road always traveling to somebodies something, (Literally could have been, a chorus recital in our area, or a snowboard competition in Vermont.) We put miles on these cars!
During this time, my Dad became sick with Cancer. Things were different, but I was 9 and not very sure what was going on. Then I started having a really bad pain in my knee that wouldn’t go away and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. After almost a year of being on crutches, and having to stop playing sports, the doctors finally did a full body Catscan and found that there was a benign tumor in my hip. I then had to get surgery and was finally able to play sports again when I was 10. During this time, my Dad became very ill and passed away May 12, 2005.
It was a tough summer and I spent most of it in the woods on a lake in Maine.
It was a tough summer and I spent most of it in the woods on a lake in Maine with my Dads two best friends from college. They took care of me like I was their kid the whole summer while my Mom and older siblings moved out of our old house in the woods of Ranch Lands, in Bushkill PA and more in town to East Stroudsburg.
During that last year of elementary school and recess, all I wanted to do was play football because my Dad couldn’t tell me no anymore, and I was ready to play. One of the High school coaches was walking around handing out flyers to kids to participate in their first annual youth football camp. I got home that day and begged for my mom to let me do the camp. She continuously said no, all my friends were already playing.
The coaches finally convinced my mom to let me try. I did the camp that summer of 2005 and it was the time of my life. Like no other experience. I was playing organized flag football ran by high school players and coaches. I received a camper of the year award and I knew it was for me. The coaches became very close with my Mom and made sure I continued playing football and signed me up with a padded youth league.
I was in middle school and I was constantly in trouble and my Mom was the disciplinary principal’s assistant at the time. Third day of school one of the coaches and my future teacher, happened to be walking by the class as I was fighting one of my teammates in the art room for picking on me. He brought me in to the office and I was suspended from school and punished from the team.
The coaches took me under their wings after finding out what my Mom was going through. They saw potential in me and the only time I would listen was during football. They made me manager and ball boy of the middle school and high school.
As I got older I would travel with the varsity team and idolize these guys and wear their jersey’s on fridays. I would try so hard to stay out of trouble, because if not, I wasn’t allowed to go to games.
Finally, after my freshman year of high school, I was done with football. I had a blast with all my buddy’s and we won. I was too small I said to play at the varsity level, I would get crushed. I also was now sponsored for snowboarding and traveling constantly and that’s what I wanted to do.
Coach Brian Mitchell made sure I stayed with a football mindset and kept my interest in still playing because it’s fun and not to do with my size. He was my middle school head coach and helped with varsity. He is still the middle school head coach at Lehman intermediate school. He had several undefeated seasons and still going.
Head Coach at East Stroudsburg North High School Chuck Dailey and one of my role models, both these guys. He told me “Size doesn’t matter, look at me, I’m little. I was your size when I played, and I was a one thousand-yard rusher my senior year. You can’t quit on me now, when I finally get to coach you. Football is in the fall, you can still snowboard.”
I looked at him crazy, he was 5’7, I didn’t believe it. After a lot of convincing and talking to family, I decided I couldn’t stop now. As a sophomore at 5’2 110lbs, I worked my ass off all summer and shared time with a senior at cornerback and played special teams because he was injured.
Our first game was a Friday night against Valley View, #7 in the state of Pennsylvania, on a foggy night on the top of the Mountain at East Stroudsburg North Timberwolves field. 14-7 with 2 minutes left in the game somehow, ESN is beating Valley View. The senior comes out and I go to corner in a nickel package. I’m 5’2 lined up against one of the best receivers in the state at 6’2 180lbs and can’t even remember the coverage. My visor is fogged up and I am not ready for this.
Coach Dailey was yelling from the sideline telling me to move up. The ball is snapped, and I see he is running a hitch, so I continue to run up and the qb throws the ball and I jump up and snatch it. “It’s intercepted by Lorenzo Melchiorreeee Down the sideline!” I couldn’t believe it.
I remember it like slow motion. I crossed the endzone line, and didn’t even know how to react, and my team was already hugging me, and it was so loud, I started crying! I didn’t really know why. I couldn’t think. I had to get right back on the field for kickoff and then line up against that receiver again. I’m at corner again and I’m still wiping my tears and fog off my face and visor. We get the ball back and the clock runs out, and we win.
It was so rewarding to know people had faith and trust in me.
Everyone was so happy, and no one knew why I was still crying. In that moment I knew my Dad was looking over me and I wished he was there to see in person. I was just hurt, but so happy. It was so rewarding to know people had faith and trust in me, to give me that opportunity to do something right, and to feel what the game can do for you. That play, that season, it made me who I am today.
Those people molded me, and not only did I grow as a man, I became a hardworking, little gritty, hard running, football player, who played countless positions, with several fractured bones along the way.
I ended up earning a scholarship to go to Milford Academy Prep school in New Berlin, NY. My Uncles( my dads college teammates) said it would give me a year to grow and develop before going to college because I was a late bloomer. So, they were right and I earned a scholarship to play Safety at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts.
I played all four years, and loved the game, playing with countless teammates going to the NFL or over to Europe. After my senior year of college, “I was ABSOLUTELY BATTERED!” I was ready to hang up the cleats, I was exhausted, I was hurt, and the love was lost.
Around thanksgiving, I got an offer to play in Barcelona, Spain. I talked it over a lot with my Mom and older brother Anthony (Bucci). Bucci was always the one to help me make my football and school decisions like choosing AIC. I decided to play with the Badalona Dracs and it was the time of my life and experience I will never forget. Coach Oscar, Xus, and Xavi ran a force of a program in Badalona, Spain. Traveling all over Europe and won a National Championship. I met friends for life.
In Europe the American Football culture is like no other. It is a true family. I learned another language, I introduced the sport to the youth, coaching football and doing clinics at schools. Now I have the opportunity to go back to my home country in Italy and do it all over and try to win an Italian championship with the Lazio Duck
In Europe, the football culture is like no other. It’s a true family.
This battered bastard has realized over all these years of playing this game, it has kept me closer and closer to my Dad.
Over the years I learned more and more about my Dad and the legacy he left behind, not as a football player, but as a man. He was a Battered bastard, and I’m chasing my/our dream to go play the game I love in my homeland. Meet more family, travel the world, and inspire the youth to all over to chase their dreams! Ciao, see you in Rome.
Lorenzo Melchiorre – My mom is my absolute soul and rock my everything! She’s/ we’ve been through hell and back and I do it so one day I can take care of her!