Teaching, dreaming, believing
If you grew up in the U.K. in the 80's you probably remember a campaign 'You never forget a good teacher'. This week on Mammaprada we have a wonderful article by Marcella Campana. Italian tennis coach, sports journalist, friend of tennis sporting heroes (think Seles, Navratilova, Comaneci) and generally a fabulous example of women following their passions and doing extraordinary things.
Firstly she casually wrote this in two languages! Then she goes on to describe her passions as tennis and sport, however I think it's clear that her real gift is being a great teacher. Sometimes we worry so much about following a job path due to money we forget to try and do something we love. Enjoy and be inspired!
Over to you, Marcella...
"I never thought I would be where I am now. I always dreamt of a life involving tennis or at the very least in a sport. These are my passions and now I live and breathe them every day.
Where it all began
My father Maurizio was my first teacher when I was very young as he was an amateur tennis player, (he was also a decent football player with Parma AC) he decided not to stay in the Emirates where he was working but to return to Italy to live a more ordinary life. He also taught tennis to my mother Erminia, an elementary old-style teacher in my home town of Desio.
I started roller skating and skiing but tennis captured me so I spent a lot of hours on court hitting million balls, going back and forth to training and tournaments, collecting EXPERIENCE and COURAGE.
In adolescence I was a bit afraid to put everything into tennis and I agreed with my parents to continue my studies. I decided to stay in Italy, instead of going to the USA, and study at Università Statale di Milano for an undergraduate course in Communication Science and then a postgraduate one in International Culture and Communication, a total of five years. I wanted to be a sport journalist and to know everything about sport.
In 2005 at the beginning of my working career I was still playing and training for my team, Club Tennis Ceriano, a little town in the North of Italy. I was gaining good work experience at La Gazzetta Dello Sport, the best Italian sport newspaper, at Class CNBC, at Sky TV and for the Laureus Italian Foundation.
I worked with many of my heroes such as Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Nadia Comaneci and I travelled to lovely places such as the Emirates, Malaysia and Brazil, making fantastic projects at home and abroad. I loved it!
In the meantime my home Club Ceriano was also improving its ranking from League D to League B and I had to start splitting my mornings between the office and afternoons on court coaching some of the young talented tennis players. It was very difficult balancing everything because I loved them all.
I LOVE to teach tennis to kids and to coach young players. I think it is one of my mother gifts and I realised that being on court with them enhances my life. Teaching a sport is leading people to face their weakness and improving their life, it is not only about winning or losing a match.
How I feel when I am teaching children or adults for 4/5 hours on court is so much better than being in an office. I think this is my mission for the coming years but I don't know if this will last forever.
Now my day is waking up in the morning and going to the gym or being at the school teaching tennis to children and then staying on court in afternoons and sometimes also in the evenings. In the weekends most of the time I'm doing something on court/off court but always around the tennis club. When I have free time I use it “to study” about sport, making and SHARING new experiences.
I try to do my best teaching to young tennis players that everyone has a chance in life, like me, I am now leading my team in Seri A1, the HIGHEST Italian league, a little town Ceriano is up against big cities and clubs such Roma, Cagliari, Torino, Genova and Prato. This is a dream come true. We have so much talent coming from such a small club. A real David and Goliath situation.
To put in your heart
Kids have to BELIEVE in themselves and DREAM a lot. They have not to be afraid of their imperfections and limits, they have to figure out their potential and work on both of them. Everyone has a TALENT to discover and to grow up with good goals in life.
In Italian I say “Tu mettici il cuore”, meaning: "To put in your heart", because HEART is the key that motivates everyone and my personal goal is to support these boys and girls to do the best they can, to be first good persons in life and then good athletes. I have everyday to learn and improve myself too and that is also another challenge.
I think that's my mission for now but I am still dreaming"...