During the Easter weekend, four teams gathered in Ronchi dei Legionari, a little town at the foot of the Italian Dolomites near Slovenian border. Four teams that represented four nations. As you may guess [the reason behind this story], this tournament wasn’t a usual pre-season routine, neither the place nor the nations represented were chosen by accident. The whole event was based on one thing that was fulfilled in the end despite the cold and rainy weather.
“Torneo della Pace” wasn’t just another softball tournament – it was a meeting of four nations: Austria, Hungary, Italy, and Croatia. If it still doesn’t ring a bell, let me help you by revealing that this event was a part of Italian sport project called Friendship Games 1918 – 2018. In Italy, the 100th anniversary of the First World War’s end is celebrated this year and that’s why the invitations were delivered to teams from countries that once stood armed one against each other.
100 years later, we put the guns down and picked up gloves and bats instead to compete on the field. Also, we visited a couple of places nearby, that witnessed the Great War and now stand as a reminder. We have been to a village called San Martino del Carso where only trees and some items that occasionally appear are the only things left, and to mountain Monte San Michele – one of the crucial spots for the battlefront.
Even though the weather wasn’t always nice and only half of the planned games were played, it was a good experience. Stars Ronchi club organized a terrific tournament that brought together former enemies as friends again. Friends united through their love to one sport.
-Natálie Tauchenová, Helena Novotna-