Whilst perusing old archives, we discovered that, although Bedonia is a small two-cow, three chicken town, there have been many a sporty soul around here, and there still are. Nowadays, we have tennis and volleyball courts, an outdoor swimming pool which runs courses during the summer season, a fully equipped gym in which to keep ourselves in shape, yoga and spinning classes……a whole range of activities from which to choose. But before the second world war, all of these opportunities were not even contemplated, much less available; what did the young people do?
We found out that, as far back as 1936, an agreement between the local administration and the parish resulted in the formation of the first soccer team, which included a large number of enthusiastic young men from the area. The idea was to train the players efficiently, having them work out alongside some experts of the time, before entering any competitive events. But the war sadly put everything on hold, and it wasn’t until 1960 that a new society was formed, and in 1964, Bedonia finally participated in its first official championship, in third division. The team was immediately a huge hit; there was always a crowd of at least 500 spectators at the “Breia” pitch cheering on their idols!
In 1968, the newly-elected President, Gianfranco Gandi, was assisted by Malio Manfredini, who was no less than Giancarlo’s father, the co-owner of Villa Tre Angeli! In fact, Giancarlo himself spent some of his teenage years as an amateur player, before dedicating his attention to other things…!
Along the years, the society presidents came and went (and occasionally, as in the case of Gianfranco Gandi, sadly passed away), as did the coaches. Last year, the assignment of President was entrusted to Sergio Berni, with Christian Squeri – also Vice Mayor to Bedonia, as his right-hand man.
Who is Bedonia’s new President? Well first of all, 67 year-old, Tornolo born Sergio Berni is certainly not new to the soccer scene, since, as a very promising player in his youth, he even received an offer to play professionally from an important society, which however, his parents did not allow him to accept. The feeling of having lost a great opportunity never abandoned him, and when Sergio’s 12 year-old daughter Sara declared that she wanted to follow in his footsteps, although more than a little surprised, he was determined not to let her experience the same regrets by standing in her way. Problem was – there was no female team! But when Sara, an outgoing, good-natured girl who got on very well with her male schoolmates, was offered the chance to join up with those who played on the team, she didn’t think twice and accepted immediately! This was 2014, and marked the beginning of Sara’s involvement in the society, and as a consequence, that of both her parents, Sergio and mum Gabriella.
There have been other important sport interests in his life; as a horse enthusiast, in the past he ran a riding stable called “Ranch Tre Valli”, accompanying people on rides around the area, and taking care of the animals. From 1990 to 2000, he went on to breeding American Quarter horses, firstly supplying the stallions, and subsequently the documents testifying the pedigree of all new-born foals. And while Mr President was busy with these activities, he was also working shifts at a nearby mineral water plant; never a dull moment!
But, getting back to our soccer society – after daughter Sara’s acceptance on one of the junior teams, Sergio experienced a re-kindling of the old enthusiasm, and began to take an interest in all the activities. He became manager and escort during trips, and was later elected vice President. Assisted by his colleagues, he proceeded to form 5 teams for youngsters ranging from 5/6 years to the so- called “Juniores” (17/18). There are currently two adult formations; the amateurs, who do not participate in competitive events, but simply enjoy a game with friends, and the official Bedonia team, which is obtaining excellent results. And last but not least, a female volleyball team, managed by Ms Cesarina Fontana, completes the society.
As of this year, in the role of President of the Bedonia Calcio Society, Sergio has taken on even more responsability, but that is not a problem for him, since he believes in what he does, and carries out his duties with great ethical seriousness and honesty. He relates very well to the young members, who see a paternal figure in him, and thanks to his diplomatic nature and ability to work around a thousand obstacles, he manages to maintain a peaceful atmosphere on the teams – a very precious trait!
Sara, now 17, has gone on to become a member of “Parma Calcio Femminile” (the female team which tours all around Italy), and is doing her family proud thanks to her talent – no doubt dad’s good genes have something to do with that! Sergio in the meanwhile is focusing on taking the Bedonia team to new heights, hopefully from second division to first – we wish him and our worthy boys luck – or as they say here – in bocca al lupo (in the wolf’s mouth!)