Embrace life's challenges after playing | Raffaella Masciadri
SCHIO (Italy) - I decided to start this way, calling on a song of two Italian singers I like, to talk about my "turning point" year. In English, it goes more or less like this:
"Oh tell me how you can find the bravery to leave, when you would only stay,
tell me how you can rise again
even if it hurts, and continue
to tie your shoes and start again over,
for nobody and nothing can steal your future! It is important, you are important!"
So here I am, having stopped playing professional basketball to take on new challenges.
I start by telling you that you need to be brave to leave sport played at professional level: the bravery of admitting that you did your best, that it is the moment to leave room for younger players who have more energy, that your body is no longer the one of many years ago.
If I think about it all, I get a little nostalgic. There are so many faces I met while playing in clubs and in the Italian national team: teammates, opponents, presidents, coaches, managers, referees, supporters. Many courts I ran on in Italy and abroad. I remember all emotions I felt, up to the last taken rebound, and that basketball, I hold tight to my heart.
Volevo ringraziare @PFBroni93 per apprezzare quello che sto dando a questo sport e alla nazionale. Mi avete regalato emozioni incredibili: il basket ha bisogno anche di persone come voi...grazie di cuore! Anche ai @VikingBroni 🔝💚💙. Vi aspetto a Pavia! pic.twitter.com/B0g8Nikthc— Raffaella Masciadri (@Mascia80) February 9, 2018
Now I can take charge of my own life and think of Raffaella, first of all. I gave basketball wonderful years of my life and I received so much in return but now is the moment of an action I did so many times: to tie new shoes, only not ones for basketball. It's been time to start over in a new role.
This has not come out of nowhere. During my life as professional player, I was already aware that it was necessary to start building a dual career. With this in mind, I continued studying. I got a university degree and then last October completed a Masters Degree in "Leadership and Management" at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom.
In 2019, I applied as member of Athletes Commission of Coni (Italian National Olympic Committee) and, thanks to the support of many colleagues of different sports, I got the position of President. This is a prestigious role for me, one I take seriously and proudly. It allows me to work for the sake of many athletes and above all, female athletes whose sports are less considered.
One of the goals I achieved that I cherish most is the "Maternity Fund" for female athletes, which is allocated by the Italian Government to allow the athletes to manage, peacefully, the moment of pregnancy and not to be forced to decide between giving up on maternity or postponing it until after the end of their careers. There is much more to do and I am ready to do my utmost!
No longer on the court but behind an office desk, living emotions of games on the sidelines, feels really new to me. Only now can I completely understand the whole organizational and bureaucratic workload to manage a club team, so much so that I really feel I am running more and that I'm in more of a hurry than when I used to train!
I do, and yet I do not miss the locker room relationship that came with leading a group of women as captain, which was nice but at the same time difficult!
Now the relationship with the girls is different, but true friendships continue and grow. I am really grateful to the coach of Famila Schio, Pierre Vincent, who allows me to sit next to the team during games to give my support and advice. It feels like I never left the court, even if now I wear a business suit as the team manager and no longer a uniform.
One thing I am discovering again is the value of time. I am always really busy with my job at Famila Schio, but I am learning to use my time better so I can spend some with people I love, by myself, or to carry out different and new activities that for many reasons a professional athlete cannot pursue.
To have the possibility of reinventing yourself at almost 40 years of age is a great gift. It's also a challenge, but it frees an incredible energy and desire to discover new possibilities and opportunities.
As the great and sorely missed Kobe Bryant once said, "Passion is the fuel for success!"
I do really have a lot of this fuel, and the winning attitude that basketball taught me will help me in building my future!
Thank you all!
Known for her deft shooting from long range, Masciadri was not a player opposing coaches wanted to leave open on the perimeter and especially in the big moments of games. She first represented Italy's senior side in 2001 and played for her country until 2019. In the Italian professional league, "Mascia" played for Pool Comense and Laghi Varese before spending the bulk of her career with Famila Schio. She also played for the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA. Since retiring, Masciadri has been Team Manager of Famila Schio, President of the Athlete's Commission for CONI (Italian Olympic Committee), member of the FIBA Players' Commission and also worked on the advisory board of TIME-OUT 2.0.