Written by Monica Landro
Photos by Luca De Nardo
A wave of freshness, joy of life. A pureness that perhaps only sport and genuine passion can preserve in a world full of superstructures. The girls of Volley Roma fly, not only when they jump to make block outs. They fly with their eyes, with their thoughts guided by the same determination and clarity with which they observe sporting ethics on the court.
Marta Bechis, Courtney-Rose Schwan, Michela Rucli, Michela Ciarrocchi, Erblira Bici, Dezirett de la Caridad Madan Rosales share the self-determination of those who are used to giving their all. And the sharp gaze of a youth cloaked in the values that allow you to win -or try to win- using grit, passion, honesty.
The common denominator of these wonderful Roma Volley girls is a sense of justice that often makes them empathetic towards the world around them, eager to make a positive contribution and an attraction for different cultures, travel, photography.
They don’t mention fears. After all, an athlete wins 50 per cent with his head and fear is his worst enemy, better to exorcise it!
We want to give back not only their image translated by photography, but also their thoughts in an authentic manner. Therefore, we will give a few excerpts of their true essence using the words that each of them expressed in response to specific questions.
On one thing, they all agree: beauty is simplicity. Far from artifice and perfectionist paranoia. But the whim of a beautiful outfit, make-up and wig, remains part of the feminine essence.
As the captain, Marta Bechis, says
A woman in a high heel and a suit always has her reason!
For Marta, beauty is simplicity and simplicity is the key to beauty.
In a world that demands and expects more and more standardisation and the search for a fake perfection, I believe that the first form of rebellion is precisely in the simplicity of forms, of colours.
The childlike eyes with which Marta looks at life, however, do not exclude pragmatism.
The desire to be a reference point, to leave a mark is often present in the girls’ answers, together with a strong sense of fairness.
Fighting against injustice, improving the world are two explicit wishes of Michela Rucli and Erblira Bici.
There are so many things I would like to change that this interview would not be enough. I think everyone can do their part, however little, every day to be a better person.
Erblira meanwhile graduated in Finance and Accounting in Tirana, Albania, her home country. Courtney Rose Schwan is American, her family runs a sports business, she describes herself as a sarcastic, charismatic, intelligent and strong young woman with a deep inclination towards graphic design and photography. Dezirett de la Caridad Madan Rosales, on the other hand, is from Cuba, volleyball is her life and she would like it to be so even after her competitive experience as a future coach.
I love music, photography, but my dream is to be the best at what I do and to give my parents a good life. My greatest fear? Failing where everyone believed in me.
Dezirett de la Caridad Madan Rosales
Fear is not mentioned here. Michela Ciarrocchi fears the passing of time, but specifies that sport, especially team sport, helps to develop self-esteem and to create one’s own personality, moving people away from aesthetic standardisation.
Volleyball for me is a source of joy, fun and friendship. It is a passion that allows me to meet many people and gain new experiences.
Here, the focus is not on perfection, the sporting dream and its translation into reality, the passion substantiated in daily activity, the focus on the result, prevent one from getting lost in vagueness. The concept of strength, of performance, is a nice deterrent to getting stuck in frustrations of any kind.
Volleyball shows me that my body is strong and is capable of great things, which go far beyond the thought of common beauty.
On fashion and outfits, a plebiscite. With a few fancies emerging from the temptation to slip into comfortable things. For Valoppi, jeans, T-shirt and loose blazer. Schwan admits to loving sophisticated streetwear with a dash of audacity every now and then. Because yes, sport takes you away from hedonism but ‘every now and then getting a manicure and a hairdo is like a nice surprise’.
Summing up, however, what the camp is, in a metaphorical sense, is Sofia Valoppi. Because sport protects, not only from the drifts within itself but also from the darker sides of external reality.
For me, volleyball represents many things but the first that would come to mind is a safe place.