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Daniele Cassioli: sport gave him freedom

Water give him protection, this is why the solution is inside himself

Daniele Cassioli finds solutions inside himself. First of all, Daniele Cassioli is someone who solves his problems by turning them into opportunities. Daniele Cassioli is not so much an epitome of banality, as a walking manual on how to live. By setting the example himself.

He isn’t one of those ubiquitous sweets with a stale phrase about love inside the wrapper. Inside him you can feel the pragmatism of the primitive man, the one who invents the wheel and masters the use of fire. Even if he deals with a different element.

“At first, water gave me a sense of protection: you can’t fall, you don’t stumble. Then it became freedom, the ability to express myself.” Express himself he certainly does, as a competitive water skier with a haul of medals that speaks for itself: 22 to date at the world championships, as well as 25 at European level and 35 at the Italian championships. All in all, this explains a lot.

“The freedom I feel goes beyond competition. In the race, however, everything is different: you enter the fray, you feel the challenge and the pride of representing a country.” Roman by birth, and an adoptive citizen of Varese, his speech is free of local or regional inflection but has great depth to it. Especially in the concepts he expresses.

“Our differences are our strengths, especially today when what makes people different is seen as a reason to make small of them. For me, weakness was a starting point and it gave me the chance to do what I’m doing. Any disability is a condition, not a sentence: one allows you to live, the other means passive acceptance.”

Daniele has written a book, Il Vento Contro (Headwind). He did so to communicate his ideas. “People know very well what they don’t want, but they don’t know what they do want. When you understand what you want, you realize that complaining is a waste of time. Sometimes we feel empty without a complaint, and we fill that emptiness with desires that go no further than that.”

Talking with him is a continuous reminder that solutions exist when they are really perceived. It’s a hymn to the joy of doing, not a celebration of what I’d like to do. A path in life that simply has to be shared with those who, especially in this day and age, need to find their bearings: children.

“I think you always need to experiment, because it’s fears that paralyse us. And, more importantly, we mustn’t forget happiness. Living to be happy always makes things worthwhile. When I met sadness, I realized that happiness, in the end, is a journey. My days with children don’t involve a goal that has to be achieved: it’s the straight course you steer that gives a sense of happiness.”

You feel lighter, more optimistic, after a chat with the champion. Talking about life, talking about sport, talking common sense. There’s nothing mean in his thoughts. Or maybe not. “I only feel compassion for those who waste opportunities.”

He certainly didn’t waste any. The old story of talent not buried, but ridden behind a motorboat that tows your dreams. He has a way of saying all this with tongue in cheek, leaving you flabbergasted and at the same time cheering you up totally.

P.s. Daniele is blind from birth. But this is a detail that could easily be omitted.

PH Rise Up Duo
TEXT Francesco Costantino Ciampa

May 4, 2019

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