The St. George Cup Charity Cup 2022
Aggiornamento: 31 dic 2022
The post-tournament musings of serial influencers Charlie Cope and first, Chiara Konishi
Chiara K: Sandwiched between the many important events organised recently to make our team bigger and better, a much smaller yet enjoyable joust almost went unnoticed.
San Giorgio delle Pertiche was the location, a small town in the middle of nowhere, no pressure to win, and a perfect sunny day. So, naturally, with the promise of the best ‘terzo tempo’ of the summer’, there was one particular thought crossing our collevtive minds; it’s time to drink some beer!
Just four of us (less than a team) embarked on this unlikely quest without knowing what to expect, or how we would reach the bare minimum number of players for a team (six). Still, as the sun beat down upon us, the lure of beer bottles that needed drinking kept our minds focussed.
We arrived at a sport festival for kids, held in a park, with Tae-Kwon-do, fencing and skating all going on around us. The only ones sweating were the touch rugby players.
Charlie: In terms of the on-pitch action, charity tournaments are always a tricky situation to manage. Different ages, genders, abilities, and experience levels all coming together, often with very different interpretations of the game. In addition to this, we had to ‘borrow’ two players from a team of youngsters named ‘Monsters’ (their choice, not ours), meaning we had quite the challenge in front of us.
Luckily, the Scambio representatives were well disciplined and did what they do best, particularly in defence: teams composed of six young and yet experienced rugby players began to lose their patience and both Chiara S and Chiara K - as well as the ever-reliable Samuele - held them back again and again.
Suffice to say, of our four group matches, we won all but one, allowing us to enter the final with our heads held high. After navigating the ins and outs of the last match, we ended up fifth and more than ready for a cold shower given the roasting heat that persisted late into the afternoon
Chiara K: While playing we learned some important lessons about our limits and boundaries.
1. Thou shall not pass (forward). Chiara Suriani jumped, floated and pirouetted on her dancer’s feet, catching an impossible ball from Samu, and scoring a try that could have been a game-changer. Too bad that she was positioned in front and not behind the ball – the try then (naturally) disallowed.
2. Her who crosseth the line should endure a grim fate. What can make you prouder of playing with rugby players than been recognized as one of them and catching a pass while running full speed on the wing? Nothing, but for sure this writer was testing the lateral limits of the pitch to breaking point. She can’t have felt very proud. And didn't.
3. Behold thine expedience, as it might betray you. Samuele, full of hubris, never really imagined that he could be outrun by 15-year old kids. But outrun he was, embarrassingly. Not that he'd admit. "I just wanted to see if they could score against me," he later claimed.
4. Do ne knap the knave. Charlie the barbarian from the north, fair skinned like a Viking, second in size only to king-sized Dan, was rejoicing in diving at the aforementioned 15 years old’s feet. Forgetting his size, he crushed one of them. Silly him for standing in his way!
The atmosphere was friendly: the refs were doing their best to resist the scorching heat, kids were kidding, adolescents were experiencing budding love as they refused to wear a top for more than two consecutive minutes, hormones filled the air, rabbit mascots were grazing the unattended areas of grass, and yeah, the teams were enjoying themselves.
That’s when I met Tiziano from Decima Regio, the organiser, and the reason why we were here.
Little did I know, but this encounter would change my day. Tiz is a big personality with a big smile, and he started telling me about the aim of the tournament. He is raising funds to put together a minirugby team for children on the autistic spectrum.
He opened my eyes to a world that I wasn’t aware of. He informed me that similiar experiments are budding all around the country, and told me about the international cup of this category.
He also explained to me how it is possible for people to play in integrated teams of both neurotypical and non-neurotypical players (after adequate training, of course), detailing the collaboration with psychologists necessary for understanding how to approach different styles of communication. Finally, he told me about the struggles he was currently facing.
I was amazed to hear about his selfless actions. That’s why I decided it would have been a great idea to boast in a big me-me-me moment about the Scambio and the European project and on how he should take a leaf from our book and sent an application for European funding.
Tiz, however, has already won a European grant in the past. In fact, he knows far more than we do. He wanted to help high-ranking - but not elite - rugby players to find a job when their sports career was at an end, when they are too young to stop working but too old to easily find a new course of education.
During the prize-giving I finally understood. The mayor of the town was there, and the whole community was celebrating and gathering to help this project grow. They were also commemorating Giulio, a kid who died of asthma while playing on the pitch in 2016. It takes a whole village, a whole community, to make things grow. I thought we were there for drinks, but what I found left me feeling much richer and far more inebriated
Charlie: These tournaments are another opportunity for us to show our support for fresh, diverse, and innovative initiatives which are becoming more and more commonplace throughout the touch rugby scene. The charities and organisations supported by these tournaments do a phenomenal job and are truly special groups of people working to improve the lives of others who are less fortunate than themselves and we, the Scambio di Lingue, will continue to show out support for such causes.
FUN NOTE: thanks to Samu who charged Chiara 60 euros for a crash course in how to make a gas pump work with a Bancomat.