All during the current season, Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari has embarked on a project through its social foundation, Fondazione Dinamo, together with One Team, Euroleague Basketball’s corporate social responsibility program, to enrich the lives of a group of children from the heart of Sassari facing socio-economic issues in their early teens. This week the club celebrated its efforts with a special event featuring 3,000 students and Italian football legend Gianfranco Zola.
Sassari’s program, "ONE1TEAM…for my life!", was conceived to help students aged 13 and 14 from an area that suffers a high level of school dropouts. The group is composed of 23 girls and boys who attend 10 two-hour sessions concentrating on important themes for their development. Each session has a key theme that is first discussed with an expert at the Sassari clubhouse and then pursued with an hour-long program on the basketball court run by One Team coaches. Those themes include: knowledge, creativeness, passion, coherence, awareness, integration, respect, team and dreams.
The ninth session differed from the rest, however. Zola is a local hero, a native of Sardinia who began his professional career in Sassari and is the current manager of Cagliari Calcio, which is located on the opposite end of the island. That made him an ideal choice to talk about his journey from Sassari to becoming one of the top football players in the world. Dinamo Sassari hosted the event on its home court, PalaSerradimigni, and opened it to a much larger group that the original core from the "ONE1TEAM…for my life!" program.
Zola stressed the importance of hard work. He told the students that he grew up thinking that talent is something that you are born with, but that he no longer believes that:
"I changed my point of view and finally I understood that the talent is actually the daily hard work. I learned that the better players were not the most talented as children, but those who worked more often than others, devoting more time and energy - not only physical, but also mental - in projecting their own ambitions. I was talking about it yesterday: in my work now, I try to achieve that vision of the team and the game that I have in my mind. There is a path that leads you to achieve that goal, but everything starts from the project that your mind process, the dream and the desire to achieve it. Without this, with no direction, I would be a car without a way to go. In my opinion, the secret to be successful in life is having a vision and then working hard to achieve it."
Zola discussed many topics with the attendees and also took questions. "My dream, my path, has started from Sassari. I'm very attached to Sassari, and very proud that everything started from this city," he said.
He also advised the students that failure is common to everyone: "I fell many times in my career, but I learned a lot from my mistakes. Don't be afraid of making mistakes. Keep falling down, but always try to rise up again!"
In addition to Zola, the session was attended by One Team Ambassador and Dinamo Sassari head coach Meo Sacchetti, Dinamo Sassari President Stefano Sardara and Fondazione Dinamo President Carlo Sardara, as well as the Dinamo Sassari first team and the Dinamo Sassari wheelchair team. Both of Dinamo Sassari's teams have been involved in the "ONE1TEAM…for my life!" program.