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Thursday, March 18, 2010

BERGAMO GIORNI 14: PER QUALE MOTIVO ALLENO???

WHEN I WAS A BOY GROWING UP IN APPLE VALLEY, MINNESOTA AT THE PREADOLESCENT AGE OF 12 OR 13, I KNEW I HAD AN ADDICTION...IT WAS EASY FOR ALL TO SEE. I WAS ADDICTED TO BASKETBALL..I EVEN WENT SO FAR TO DOCUMENT WITH VARIOUS POEMS..HERE IS AN EXAMPLE..
ALL DAY I PLAY AT BASKETBALL,
AND POP AND POP AND POP.
AND WHEN I GO TO BED AT NIGHT,
I DREAM I CANNOT STOP.

AND THE TEAM I WAS ADDICTED TO WAS UCLA BASKETBALL..THE BRUINS  WERE LEAD BY BILL WALTON, THE BIG REDHEAD, AND THEIR LEGENDARY COACH..THE WIZARD OF WESTWOOD,  JOHN WOODEN...I HAD A SHINY ROYAL BLUE JACKET EMBLAZONED WITH GOLD LETTERING ON THE BACK THAT SAID "UCLA BASKETBALL." I WORE THAT JACKET EVERYWHERE. THE COLORS WERE THAT OF THE BRUINS AND I WANTED TO LET EVERYONE KNOW THAT I WAS IN LOVE WITH THE WAY THEY PLAYED.



                  THE WIZARD OF WESTWOOD...JOHN WOODEN

IN THOSE YEARS THE WIZARD WAS WINDING DOWN HIS 27 YEAR CAREER..THEY WERE SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE OF WINNING 6 OR 7 STRAIGHT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS..THEY WERE THE BEST PROGRAM IN THE COUNTRY AND I WANTED TO PLAY FOR THEM ONE DAY..

WHAT I DIDN'T REALIZE THEN WAS THAT THE SUCCESS THEY ENJOYED AND THE FOLLOWING THEY BUILT WAS DUE TO ONE MAN, AND ONE MAN ALONE..JOHN WOODEN...IT WAS MANY YEARS LATER WHEN I READ MANY OF HIS BOOKS THAT I KNEW ONE DAY I WOULD ALSO COACH.

IT WAS ONE OF HIS QUOTES THAT GRABBED ME AND FOR YEARS HAS SOMEWHAT TORTURED ME.."A LIFE NOT LIVED FOR OTHERS IS NOT A LIFE."..COACHING IS ONE WAY TO SERVE OTHERS..

WE ALL CAN REMEMBER OUR FAVORITE COACHES...THE BAD ONES AS WELL..COACHING IS TEACHING, AND WE CAN REMEMBER OUR GOOD INSEGNARI..THE ONES THAT MADE A STARK DIFFERENCE IN OUR LIVES; AS WELL AS THE ONES WHO WE COULDN'T WAIT TO PART WAYS WITH

WHEN JOHN WODEN WAS ASKED WHAT HE ENJOYED MOST ABOUT BEING AN INSEGNARE HE RESPONDED BY SAYING.."WATCHING YOUNGSTERS IMPROVE."; AND HE FOLLOWED BY ADDING THAT THE KEY INGREDIENT TO BEING A GOOD TEACHER IS "PATIENCE."..IN ADDITION KNOWLEDGE IS NOT ENOUGH TO GET DESIRED RESULTS..YOU MUST HAVE THE MORE ELUSIVE ABILITY TO TEACH AND TO MOTIVATE.

TODAY I WRITE, "PER QUALE MOTIVO ALLENO?"..WHY DO I COACH..EVERYWHERE I GO IN BERGAMO PEOPLE INQUIRINGLY ASK, .."WHY ARE YOU HERE?"

I WILL ATTEMPT TO ANSWER.

I HAVE MADE A HANDSOME LIVING FROM THE ULTIMATE TEAM SPORT OF....FOOTBALL...MY INVOLVEMENT IN THE GAME STARTED NOT UNLIKE MANY OTHERS WHO PLAYED AT VARIOUS LEVELS..MY FATHER WAS THE FIRST TO PUT THE PIGSKIN IN MY HANDS..TOSSING THE BALL IN THE YARD OF CHERRY HILL, NEW JERSEY ARE SOME OF MY EARLIEST MEMORIES.  EVENTUALLY THERE WAS POP WARNER..AND JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL..IT WAS GROWINGLY COMPETITIVE AT MASSAPEQUA HIGH SCHOOL AND ONTO COLLEGE

AN OLD TEAMMATE OF MINE IN MY FRESHMAN YEAR OF COLLEGE, AND A FORMER 8 YEAR VET OF THE NY J E T S... JETS JETS JETS...KURT SOHN, ONCE SAID .."IF YOU PLAY HS FOOTBALL THEN YOU MAY AS WELL TRY TO PLAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL; AND IF YOU PLAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL YOU MAY AS WELL TRY TO PLAY PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL."...IT SEEMED SO MATTER OF FACT..SIMPLE...AND ON THAT DAY THE SEED WAS OFFICIALLY PLANTED SOMEWHERE IN MY DNA THAT THAT WOULD BE MY MISSION..NOTHING STOOD IN BETWEEN ME AND MY MISSION.

I ONLY OFFER THIS BACKROUND TO PUT IN PERSPECTIVE WHAT FOOTBALL HAS MEANT TO ME..FROM THE DAYS OF BEING A PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER FOR 12 YEARS, DODICI ANNI FA, IN DALLAS..INDY..PHILADELPHIA...IT WAS ALL CONSUMING...AFTERWARDS AND FOR THE PAST 16 YEARS I HAVE MADE A HANDSOME LIVING AS A FOOTBALL ANALYST..WILL TALK ABOUT ANY FACET OF THE GAME TO ANYONE WHO STOPS ME AND IN SOME CASES I WILL FIND SOMEONE TO INIZIO CONVERSAZIONE ABOUT THE WONDERFUL GAME

FOR MOST SUNDAYS DURING THE NFL SEASON SINCE 1998 I HAVE HAD STRONG OPINIONS ABOUT COACHING DECISIONS..ABOUT PLAYER PERFORMANCES...ABOUT ORGANIZATIONAL VISION...POSITIVE ND NEGATIVE..I HAVE PLACED MYSELF IN THE SHOES OF MANY OF THESE PEOPLE AND STATED WHAT I WOULD DO, OR MORE EMPHATICALLY,WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE..I AM PAID WELL TO OFFER MY OPINIONS.

YET, DEEP INSIDE OF ME, I KNOW I HAVE NEVER COACHED A DOWN..IN FACT, OUTSIDE OF SOME FOOTBALL CAMPS THAT I PARTNER TOO, I HAVE NEVER COACHED A SPORT..A PLAYER..OR A GAME IN MY LIFE...IT SEEMS ALMOST HYPOCRITICAL TO BE SO DEMONSTRATIVE ABOUT WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WHEN I HAVE NEVER WALKED IN ANYONE'S SHOES BEFORE..

PART OF THAT VOID IS WHAT BRINGS ME TO BERGAMO....AIUTO WITH THE FOOTBALL AMERICANO TEAM OF THE BERGAMO LIONS..

LIKE WOODEN,  I THINK I HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE..AT LEAST ENOUGH TO THINK THAT IF I IMPART SOME,  SOMEONE COULD HOPEFULLY BENEFIT..BUT CAN I GET THE DESIRED RESULTS?..CAN I TEACH?..CAN I MOTIVATE?..CAN I DO ALL OF THIS AND EXERCISE PATIENCE ALL AT THE SAME TIME


                  TO TEACH AND TO INSPIRE...PATIENCE!!!

THE BERGAMO LIONS STAFF IS FULL OF LA PRIMA VOLTE...WE ALL ARE FIRST TIMERS IN SOME WAYS...IL CAPO DE BERGAMO LIONS, COACH COS,  IS AN EXPERIENCED COACH WHO PLAYED 10 YEARS FOR THE LEGENDARY TOM LANDRY AND THEN COACHED SIDE BY SIDE WITH THE LEGENDARY GENIUS AND ARCHITECT OF THE WEST COAST OFFENSE,  BILL WALSH..BUT IT IS HIS FIRST TIME IN ITALY AND FIRST TIME COACHING ITALIANS..THERE IS MUCH TO LEARN



               NOTHING LIKE GAMEDAY TO A COACH

THE DEFENSE IS LEAD BY DAVIDE'..HE IS A FORMER PLAYER WITH THE LIONS WHO AFTER WEARING PROUDLY NUMERO VENTIOTTO FOR A LONG TIME AND ACCUMULATING THE INJURIES THAT ALL VETERAN PLAYERS WEAR AS A BADGE OF COURAGE, IT WAS TIME TO TAKE HIS LOVE OF THE GAME TO THE SIDELINES AND USE HIS EXPERTISE  TO COMMAND



DAVIDE' AND ME....PREGAME..BOLZANO, ITALY

THERE IS THE PUP OF THE GROUP HANDLING SPECIAL TEAMS AND RUNNING BACKS,  MIKE MADEIROS...A FORMER COLLEGE PLAYER, HE COULD NOT CATCH ON IN AMERICA WITH A STAFF SO HE SOLICITED HIS TALENTS TO THIS ITALIAN LEAGUE..I ADMIRE HIS INITIATIVE; AND I THINK HE WILL BE A VERY VERY SUCCESSFUL COACH ONE DAY...I THINK HE ENJOYS THE TEACHING..ALSO HELPING ON ALL PHASES IS RICH BROWN..RICH HAS BEEN AN ENORMOUSLY SUCCESSFULL BUSINESS MAN AND HAS A STRONG URGE TO TEACH..TO GIVE BACK..TO HELP..FIRST IT WAS WITH HIS OWN CHILDREN..THEN IT WAS WITH COACH COS IN A STARTUP SPRING LEAGUE..AND MOST RECENTLY IT WAS AS AN ASSISTANT BASKETBALL COACH WITH THE SANTA CLARA'S WOMAN'S TEAM


                         MIKE MADEIROS AND MYSELF...1ST TIMERS


AND THERE IS STEPHANO...KIND OF THE DAY TO DAY LA PRIMA VOLTE GENERAL MANAGER WHO IS TRANSITIONING FROM PLAYING CENTER FOR THE LIONS OVER THE PAST DECADE TO NOW RUNNING A LOT OF THE OPERATIONS..HIS FIRST ACT WAS TO SHED 30 KILO'S FROM HIS LINEMAN BODY TO BECOMING A LEAN BUSINESS MAN..

WE ARE A GROUP OF FIRST TIMERS TRYING TO FIGURE IT ALL OUT...LIKE ANY TEACHING ASSIGNMENT THERE ARE CHALLENGES,  ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR FIRST GAME AND THE LAZIO MARINES ARE WAITING FOR US THIS SUNDAY..THE PRESSURE IS ON

BUT WHATEVER THE OUTCOME OF THE SEASON IS,  I KNOW THIS IS AN EXPERIENCE THAT I WILL TREASURE FOR A LONG LONG TIME..WHETHER I AM GOOD AT IT; WHETHER I CAN APPLY THE LESSONS OF THE WIZARD OF WESTWOOD,  REMAIN TO BE SEEN..MOST IMPORTANT TO ME IS THE NEED TO GIVE BACK TO A SPORT THAT HAS BEEN EXTREMLY KIND TO ME..FOR 40 YEARS NOW IT HAS BEEN THE FOUNDATION THAT MY LIFE HAS BEEN BUILT UPON..I CANNOT JUST CONTINUE TO TAKE TAKE TAKE..THIS FEELS RIGHT TO GIVE BACK

OH YEAH...IT CAN REALLY SUCK YOU IN..THERE ARE 8 OFFENSIVE LINEMAN THAT I AM COACHING...PEPE..CHRISTIAN..MIRKO..MARIO..PIETRO..NUMA...VITO..AND LUCCO..I REALLY LIKE THE GROUP..I THINK THEY CAN BE VERY GOOD, AND THIS CAN BE A MEMORABLE YEAR FOR ALL OF US.IT IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO ME TO SEE THIS GROUP IMPROVE INDIVIDUALLY, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY..TO WATCH THEM COME TOGETHER AS A LINE AND PLAY WITH ONE MIND..STATCHINAUTO...



                       MIO GRUPPO...GOTTA GET BETTER

I DON'T THINK I WILL COMMIT THE NEXT 27 EARS OF MY LIFE TO THIS ADDICTIVE PROFESSION THE WAY JOHN WOODEN DID AT UCLA, BUT I HOPE TO LEAVE MY MARK AND LEARN A PERSPECTIVE ON THIS DIFFICULT, BUT REWARDING PROFESSION, BY SPENDING MIO LA PRIMAVERA 2010 CON BERGAMO LIONS.

2 comments:

  1. Great post Baldi! It sounds like you're already learning that perspective quite well. Best of luck to you and all the Lions! I look forward to hearing more about the adventure. We'll miss your insights on NFL Network.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Simply, the best thing i have ever read/seing in my whole life!!!!!! ñ_ñ

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