I have been given the distinctly high honor of coaching for the Italian National Softball Team as their pitching coach. Italy is a part of my heritage (I am an Italian dual-citizen) and my heart. It has been a mainstay in my thoughts and actions for many years. From the first moment I set foot in Naples in 2005, I could feel there was something special about being in this country and being one of its’ citizens. I would argue that many travelers feel the same after visiting Italy. This is a country where at every corner there is a whiff of “stop and smell the roses,” as well as a jolt of “hurry up and drive there fast!” Opposing, conjoining, melding and mixing forces that entice travelers and leave a burned, pizza-flavored impression on one’s heart. Italy’s food, traditions, people, softball teams, history, art and culture has NEVER disappointed me, even when I have disappointed it. It has stood behind me, forgiven me, praised me, burned me to the ground, and built me back up. I owe so much to these people.
Italy has a new Italian Baseball and Softball Federation President, Andrea Marcon, and a new national team head coach, Enrico Obletter. Enrico has been my friend and coach since 2005. Then, I was happy to have a pitching coach with the national team who spoke my language (both English and pitching!). Since then, we have won 2 national championships, a Cup Italia, a European championship, and competed in several international professional tournaments together. I trust the national team is in good hands with his guidance.
We are working toward qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, which is no small task no matter what part of the world you should live and play. Building a team and developing talent takes years, and we have no choice but to be competitive NOW! This is a fast moving train, but the vision we have is clear: Build Italian softball to international power. Every decision we make is to firm Italy’s place among the stars. Follow the dream on this blog, and through my Facebook page. I am sure there will be many updates!