“Gameday”, the power of sport to change the world (for women)

Cecilia Zandalasini

“Tira” is more than the invitation of each coach to his athletes, of each mother to her children. It is the categorical imperative that arises on a football field, in a basketball stadium or in a swimming pool to signal and elevate sport to the rank of moral philosophy of our time. We need it badly as things are not going well in the world. In this “Tira”, which we have said a million times, Monica D’Ascenzo in his “Match day. Because the girls have to learn to run after a ball” (Gribaudo, 2022) recognizes the eternal power of sport to change the world and make our society more just and equitable. And even more suitable for women.

His reading, so contemporary, arises from the careful observation of daily life in the offices, in the classrooms, in the halls of economic power that he frequents for professional reasons. Yes, because a woman, before raising her hand, proposing, shooting, wants to be sure to have the perfect shot in her hands, while a man throws himself away, and perhaps saves space and promotions. Sport, especially in a team – writes Monica D’Ascenzo – is a lever to be able to assert oneself, with one’s own strength, with effort and sweat and skill: “Breathing sport and playing sports from childhood, like on the other hand studying music or being a scout, in any other way, is equivalent to gain superpowers that we can use when we need it. It is a state of mind that gives us some additional possibilities. A resource that is acquired while playing and that can make a difference”.

Intuition, brilliant and new, which, like a Red string brings together the passionate pages of the book, born of many readings and voice of champions that Monica D’Ascenzo has had the opportunity to meet in recent years. They are athletes and cover athletes, they are champions who have made history, but with their humanity, their frailties keep us close to their stories. They are us and we are them. Masters and companions, like many coaches, because the medals, the successes are not only gold but of a league made of sweat, determination and courage. The same alchemy that we seek within ourselves every day, with great difficulty, in search of joy. sport is life: otherwise how could you even try to understand the tears of the Azzurri defeated by North Macedonia and excluded from the World Cup while a few thousand kilometers from Italy, a fierce war is raging?

bertoliniThere are many great stories in these pages. Milena Bertolinicourageous and pragmatic coach of the women’s national team, summarizes almost all of them with his eyes beyond every obstacle: “You have to develop a vision that goes beyond the result, you have to project yourself towards the common good and work for the future”. Remember Luca BigiItaly-rugby hooker and in the Zebre franchise in Pro14, which had announced the arrival of a player in his role, but he chose to stay because having self-confidence it’s already a half-victory. Isn’t it the same in life? And confidence is also what a coach needs to instill in his boys for them to become a team. The recipe for Sandro Campagnagold with Italy in water polo at Barcelona 1992 and Ct del Settebello, is in music: “A player who does not have the maturity, you have to give him the score. But as a coach, I try to create a jazz orchestra. Even when someone disagrees, the others must be able to adapt to the new situation and bring the partner back into the right key, like when improvising jazz music”.

belinelliFind the voice of a team and know how to be always ready: Marco Belinelli, the first Italian to have won the ring with the San Antonio Spurs (2014), 13 years in total with the NBA, he knows it well. For a year only small change, and a little more but with the fixed mantra of “Stay ready and turn anger and disappointment into strength”. Each athlete talks about himself and offers a reading key. That of Cristiana Girellibomber of the women’s national football team and Juventus Women, is in charge of: “We qualified for the 2019 World Cup after twenty years of absence: the professionalism, which will come into force from 2022/23 in Italian women’s football, is also the result of this journey. And precisely because of this path, if anyone is wrong among men, he is one in a million, if one of us is wrong, he is not only wrong for himself, he is wrong for all of us “.

Sport is also freedom, as in the life of Nadia Nadim, Afghan, fled Herat as a child, arrived in Denmark and now has 99 appearances for the national team. Proof that always, when all seems lost, sport, any sport, is the lifelineit’s a rainbow that eases fatigue and makes you say that nothing is impossible, word of Fausto Desalugold medal in the 4 × 100 relay at Tokyo 2020, in the most brilliant Italian Olympics of all time.

my-friends-are-not-friends-but-sisters-with-my-sister-i-fight-but-i-know-when-i-need-herThere is also Paola Enoguchampion of rights, the gold of Manuela Zanchi in water polo in Athens in 2004, and the sense of the roots of Ivan Ramiro CordobaColombian defender of Inter Milan from the Triplet in 2010. Trust, respect, pride, desire to have fun are the parts that build sports careers from almanacs and also better people, examples to come back to in the darkest moments, as Megan Rapinoe shouted it out to the world, United States national team midfielder, 2019 Women’s World Cup gold medalist: “We have to be better. We must love more and hate less. We need to listen more and talk less. You should know that it is everyone’s responsibility. And it’s our responsibility to make this world a better place.”.


Title: “Game day. ‘Cause girls need to learn to run after a ball
Author: Monica D’Ascenzo
Publisher: Gribaudo
Price: €16.90

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