Ever since I was a child, I have been wearing blue and orange Mets jerseys with Piazza spelled out on the back of them. Being from New York, baseball is in my blood.
Mike Piazza has always been my favorite player, and I have always had the dream to meet him. Thanks to USAC Reggio Emilia, my dream finally came true on March 20, 2018.
I told the USAC program staff about all this on the very first day of the program. Given USAC Reggio Emilia’s agreement with Reggiana, the Italian pro soccer team of which Mike is the President, Simona, our Resident Director, offered to have a letter passed along to Mr. Piazza if I wrote one in hopes of getting a meet and greet. I had no idea it would even be possible for me to meet him, but from the second Simona said she would try, I couldn’t help but get my hopes up.
While my family was visiting from the U.S., we decided to go support Piazza’s new team, Reggiana at their home calcio match. We took a photograph holding up a Mets backpack and I tweeted him the tweet below:
“Supporting our favorite Met @mikepiazza31 and his new team @Reggiana1919. Meet us while we are in Italy, Mr. Piazza?”
— ciara ✨ (@CiaraB430) March 18, 2018
It was a shot in the dark, but it was a shot I was willing to take. People message Piazza daily, but I happened to be the lucky needle in a haystack who got a response.
The Hall of Famer tweeted me directly saying: “Would love to, can you come by our office?”
Mr. Piazza proceeded to message me back and forth making a plan for us to meet. When we got to his office, we were greeted by his most kind wife, Alicia Piazza. After our introduction with Mike Piazza, he showed us around the office building, full of enthusiasm as he talked about his team’s history and all the hopes he has for their future.
He was smiling ear to ear in support of his new team and city, explaining how excited he is for more fans to come visit and support them. Our time at the office concluded by Piazza gifting me a Reggiana jersey, but our experience wasn’t over. He invited us to the practice grounds of the team where he introduced us to players, staff, and friends of his. He took photographs with us, talked baseball and calcio with us, signed our memorabilia and even talked to my uncle in New York via FaceTime.
He was the most humble, down to earth man. He was everything you hope for when you meet your idol. When Mr. Piazza was called away for lunch, he left letting us know that we could stay at the fields for as long as we wanted, and ensured us that we should feel right at home with Reggiana.
I couldn’t thank him enough in person, so after our experience, I tweeted him once more thanking him for everything, and he took even more time out of his busy schedule to tweet me back.
My dreams just came to life. I just met the most humble MIKE PIAZZA in Reggio Emilia, Italy at his soccer team’s office. A surreal hero experience for sure. Never thought this would come true. Thank you Mike!! 💙🧡 He even talked to my uncle in NY on FT who couldn’t be here. pic.twitter.com/HaOOZ0QI55
— ciara ✨ (@CiaraB430) March 20, 2018
Meeting Mike Piazza was a lifelong dream of mine, and thanks to my study abroad opportunity through USAC, my dream came true.
Ciara Boyd is a Colorado State University, Fort Collins student. She studied abroad in Reggio-Emilia in Spring 2018.