Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Open letter from Dario Passadore, new ASA President

Dear ASA Members,
First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the many texts, emails and Facebook notes received the past couple of days. I am truly humbled by the support received and you can count on my full commitment to do my very best to revive the association and grow our beloved sport in the US.
Secondly, in light of my relatively short tenure with ASA and, consequently, the fact that many of you may be wondering who I am, I deem it appropriate to introduce myself and share a brief summary of the unforgettable journey that eventually led me to join and become the President of this wonderful organization.
Born and raised in Milan, Italy, during the era of the game’s greatest popularity, I received my first Subbuteo kit at the age of 7. Like most kids my age, for a few years I would play stretching the wrinkled pitch on the floor, using basic rules and trying to master the quite challenging art of hitting the ball with rolling miniatures. The Subbuteo life back then was really hard, but I loved every second of it and every match was the perfect simulation of what I might had witnessed at the stadium the previous Sunday.
Everything changed one Sunday afternoon, when, at the age of 15, my best buddy and I decided to attend our first official tournament. I will never forget the shock upon entering a room filled with more than 20 pitches installed on wooden boards and mounted on workhorses perfectly lined up, packed with more than one hundred players of all ages busy dealing with “stuff” at that time we had no clue what it meant. Why would they all show up with small (mostly custom-made) briefcases, instead than the traditional green Subbuteo package we were so proudly carrying in our hand…? Why did they have a cleaning cloth in it?? Why did their teams look so different from ours? What the heck was a furniture cleaning spray doing in that case anyway?? Wait…what…WHAT??? The miniatures could slide from side to side without rolling?!?! LOL
The rules were also quite different from what we were used to. Long story short, as you can easily guess, we both lost all the three games in the group stage by an average of 10 goals to nothing and that was the end of our first competitive adventure.
While my friend went home right after the humiliating defeat, disgruntled and discouraged, I stayed till the end of the event, asking a million questions and learning as much as I could, certain I had found my true passion.
After a year of solitary practice to catch up to a new exciting world of Subbuteo I was previously unaware of, at the age of 16 I finally resolved to contact the Italian Federation (AICIMS at that time) to become a member and got assigned to a local club, the mythical G.S. Bossico, led by my friend and mentor Massimiliano Turati.
One year later, when Max left for the mandatory military service, I was chosen to become the President of the Club, which ended up winning the Serie B. The following year, at the age of 17, I was asked to run the entire Lombardy region, after its longtime leader resigned. That marked the beginning of an incredible experience from a leadership, organizational, human, and competitive standpoint. I was organizing monthly regional and national tournaments, managing finances and memberships, dealing with distributors, filtering daily inquiries from current and prospective players, forming alliances, publishing newsletters, marketing the association and, most of all, grooming new talents.
I had the pleasure of playing Subbuteo nonstop for more than 20 years till my departure to the US in 1999, when I had to leave everything behind. It was only a couple of years ago, thanks to social media, that I was able to reconnect with old friends and realized the sport I thought had been killed by videogames and multimedia was, indeed, more alive than ever. I looked at my two young boys and thought: “there you go! I now have the perfect excuse to drop a few hundred bucks on Subbuteo…:)”
The rest it’s history. But I definitely want to thank two individuals in particular: Alex Batacchi and Zach Walker, for their warm welcome to ASA, their contagious enthusiasm, and their fantastic support during my first US tournament where my ego got tested quite severely…lol
Last but not least, now that you got a glimpse of how passionate I am about this phenomenal sport, I would like to quickly outline the next steps, promising to dedicate my next communication to a more in-depth explanation around the plan for a revised ASA:
December 5 – First informal meeting with the Board and key ASA members on Saturday, December 5, during the Holiday Silver
Mid-December – First official meeting with the Board in December before the Holidays to present Executive Team and finalize list of priorities/assign tasks and deadlines
January 2016 – Approval of 2016 Budget
January 2016 – Communication to all ASA Members about plan, budget and deliverables
I look forward to working with each and every one to grow Subbuteo in the US and to keep strengthening our relationship with WASPA and FISTSF for mutually beneficial purposes.
I encourage you to email me questions, feedback, ideas at any time at the following email address: subbuteousa@gmail.com
FLICK WITH PASSION. ALWAYS!
Dario

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