In a couple of hours i will leave to Croatia with 7 boys and girls between 16 and 23 years old. We will drive by bus up to Zagabria for a 4 day training programme with other boys and girls around similar age. And like every night before every departure i find myself with the same emotions i used to feel when i was a child. A mixture of anxiety, excitement and happiness. And i like to imagine that those 7 boys and girls are feeling the same way as me. My mind goes back to the many trips and away competitions i have made in the last 30 years, and i try to find in them my own memories and impressions. Strangely enough i am not worried. I am surely not the only one who criticize this generation, saying that kids nowadays are totally different from the kind of kids we were.

I am not the only one picturing them as unreliable, disrespectful and without any doubt, immature. And indeed, newspaper and tv programmes of recent years seem to confirm all of it. Yet, i don’t want to think about it today. I don’t want to analyze a whole generation, neither i have the desire to look for social nor anthropological reasons for which these kids have became like this (even though i must have read somewhere that the apple never falls too far away from its tree, which probably leads us, the parents, to a bit of self-examination).

Today i want to think about those 7 boys and girls that tomorrow will travel for more than 10 hours with me to a 3-day training with other boys and girls. Those 7 boys and girls that manage to conciliate studying with playing sport while maintaining their typical teenagers’ features.

And the first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about them is the pinnacles desert in Australia. A boundless desert where rock pinnacles stand out. I believe these 7 boys and girls are precisely those pinnacles. In a desert of mediocrity and standardisation, they are pinnacles who stand out because of their effort, their passion, their willing to sacrifice, never giving up on who they are, without forgetting their age. They don’t have any kind of special talent, neither they have super powers; they are normal boys and girls: they chat with their friends, they constantly fall in love, sometimes they get bad grades in school, they argue with their parents, they feel bored, sometimes they do stupid things, some of them read books some others don’t, they have posters on their wall in their bedrooms and they keep concert’s tickets in their diaries. Normal teenagers’ things. But they have something different from a lot of others normal teenagers. They have chosen to dedicate themselves to something, to challenge themselves, to look at life from a higher perspective. This is what make the difference: the choice.

In a couple of hours i will leave to Croatia with 7 boys and girls of…No…In a couple of hours i will leave to Croatia with 7 athletes.


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