One chance in a billion

” What’s the purpose of playing if we already know that we are going to lose ?
I could understand if we had a chance in a million to win…

” Well, maybe we haven’t got one in a million, but surely we have one in a billion ”
” Come on ! Let’s play ! “

Softball report from Saharawi

Press Release
Approved by
– Province of FLORENCE
“OLYMPIC SOFTBALL 2012” : it all started from the Sahara desert of Tindouf, South Algeria, at the refugee camps of the Saharawi.
A first “stop” where my daughter Claudia, softball player and here also “young softball coach”, had the pleasure and the honour to introduce
to a group of boys and girls aged 12 – 13 the basics and the spirit of the sport she practices and which is her real passion.
The “little” dream of softball , wishing to get back to the Olympics joined here with the “big” dream of a people which has been waiting for generations
for decisions and solutions in order to return to their land.
But most of all, beyond the dreams, it was an occasion to point out the real potential of sports in getting people and causes together.
And under this respect we have already achieved a first result !
We have no precise score of the first game played in the Saharawi desert.
At least not in “numbers”. There were no umpires nor scoreboards and.. we got lost in the count !
But, if we think about it, I believe this was really among the least important details of our project and trip.
The ” mix ” team of “Walda Muhamad Alì ” School of the tent camp (daira) of Mijek, of the province (wilaya) of Auserd landed on the sand diamond
of the wide inner yard nearly ” by chance ” but I think that in few days they were able to give life to something really beautiful and important.
Something , which will allow to follow new ways on the path of dialogue and peaceful resolution of disputes and problems if it is continued and developed.
In any case, on 12 April 2012, two mixed teams shared the field :
the Suhur and the Tuyur. The Flowers and the Birds… of the desert.
A nice and balanced game where Claudia pitched for everybody and where everybody played a role.
The Physical Education teachers were the “coaches”, the Spanish teacher the translator, the other teachers coordinated cheering, the school director was in charge of public relations and sponsors.
The person representing SPORTS in the region was present too.
There was even the official entering of the field with a short parade of the teams and their flags:
the one of the Saharawi Republic (RASD) and the Olympic flag together with the colours of the tibetan banner, which in a sense included everything and hinted at the next appointment
in Nepal in the month of August.
However, I think the most beautiful moments were during “practice”, when Claudia in Spanish, with Arabian subtitles, was somehow able to give an idea of throwing, hitting and even something similar to pitching … unbelievable!
The passion of the ” teacher ” and the students, the participation of the teachers and, not a small detail, the evident and immediate results achieved, were contagiously exciting for everybody living this moment.
The experiment found good ” soil “. The boys belonged to the soccer club, the girls to the volleyball group.
But everybody surely put his best effort , the right spirit and the desire to learn and improve.
It would be great if one day an Italian team, maybe the Italian National Team of our dear Marina Centrone, could visit these places and maybe get organized for a softball game full of enthusiasm and extraordinary “values”.
For sure Claudia’s team, Sestese Softball of President Sauro Locci will somehow continue the project next summer , but please allow me to follow a dream and see the active involvement of other clubs and groups of people which I have been in close contact with and which I consider as dear friends.
Starting from the almost “heroic” Gianni Masi of Cosmos Club Team and the amazing Fabio Borselli from Arezzo, always in Tuscany.
But can you fancy how the next Due Torri Tournament in Parma could feature a young team from the Arabian Democratic Saharawi Republic invited by the friends of Oltretorrente!
Or maybe in the tournament of Sala Baganza
But surely they might be welcome by the great organizing ability of Bollate and Caronno, where something beautiful and important might arise.
As well as from any other club team and sports group which might have been interested by this report.
Nothing is impossible. Who knows, in the extraordinary attempt to support “others” our beloved softball might take a real advantage!
But now I want to finish this story with the moment which among the many quite beautiful moments seemed immediately to be almost magic.
The shiver communicated through a look with Claudia, on seeing a light rubber ball hit by a bat of the school – kit of FIBS by a little coloured girl, all smiles and speed , flying over the tin roof of the school
True, the field was not a regular field, but it was definitely not easy. What a hit…
Let me try to communicate to you the astonishment and the real words while following the ball and seeing it pass that roof and that wall, that yellow ball, in the big blue Sahara sky…
A deep shiver which hasn’t faded yet.
May this be the best wish. And again ” good season start “. For everybody.
Till soon!
Marco Banchelli
– The School:
“Walda Muhamad Ali” – Mijek / Auserd
– the School Director
Jady Ahmad Salem
– the ” Ph. D. teachers “
– Zain Mahamad Ali
– Uafa Salec
– Salmu Lagdaf Ahmad
– the “Spanish teacher”
Uafa Salec Japuzi
The “SUHUR” team (flowers):
– Mariam Muhamad Brahim
– Manina Muhamad Saleh
– Mariam Henani Nafe
– Zaynabu Ahmad Muhamad
– Muhamad Lamin Ali
– Mahfud Ahmad
– Larusi Muham Lamin
– Ali Salem Abdalahi
– Sidah Ahmad Umar
– Mamay Muhamad Ahmed
The “TUYUR” team (birds)
– Jadra Muhamad Daha
– Monina Muhamad Maulud
– Saleh Muhamad Hama
– Saleh Ahmad Daha
– Aza Lihsan Brahim
– Abdalahi Ahmad Salem
– Mamitu Salama Said
– Turad Muhamad Salec
– Abaid Hamdi Saleh
– Mahyuba Lecpir
Coming next the “video report” on

Back from Williamsport

This last weekend I had the honour to serve as International Member in the new Softball Advisory Board of Little League International in Williamsport.

It was a great experience which gave me more insight into the world of LL as it is seen and felt overseas.
On my side, I tried to bring up my thoughts and views of things from the perspective of Europe and the rest of the world.

Here are some pictures of this nice experience for which I thank you all my new LL friends:


A full day on the field

Today we spent a very nice softball day on the field in Legnano together with 47 young ladies aged 15-and-under and some softball friends.

We are currently working on the try-out for the National Program Under 15 and Under 13.

Thanks to all the softball friends who made this day possible !

Elite softball camp in the US

If you are interested in offering your young players a unique softball learning experience this summer , consider sending them to HIGHER GROUND SELECT CAMP which will take place in the South Commons Stadium and Complex in Columbus, Georgia (Venue City of 1996 Olympic Softball Games) on June 17-22.
The organiser of this extraordinary softball camp is Bobby Simpson, dear friend and extremely experienced softball instructor, founder of HIGHER GROUND, speaker at clinics all over the world.
His staff will include GREG RIDDOCH,  former manager of the San Diego Padres and currently the Mental Skills Coach for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Greg is a former high school psychology teacher, Higher Ground softball DVD instructor, veteran of numerous Higher Ground elite level softball camps and clinics, regularly teaches softball hitting lessons in Colorado, and has been a featured speaker at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association National Clinic and the 2012 Italian National Softball Clinic.
HIGHER GROUND SELECT CAMP offers talented and motivated players a unique combination of TERRIFIC INSTRUCTION, UNIQUE GAME EXPERIENCE, & IMPACT EXPOSURE.
Special attention
will be devoted to the development of the mental aspects of the game through the help of Greg Riddoch.
For more information visit HIGHER GROUND website or contact Bobby Simpson at .