F. is the athletic trainer of a dozen women who have had breast surgery. He teaches them to paddle the Dragonboat. And he thus finds himself discovering how as a team those women experience a contagious strength and courage, feelings of sisterhood that are not taken for granted, beyond "the boulder of the disease that has fallen on each of them". The story "A Tiger of an athletic trainer" is one of the ten semifinalists of the literary contest #afiancodelcoraggio. You can read and vote on the stories on the contest website, expressing a maximum of three preferences, until June 8, thus helping to choose the three stories that will be judged by the jury. The winner will then be transformed into a short film.
An army of toy soldiers against the disease: when the tumor strikes the mother
An athletic trainer Tiger
“Because only with teamwork can we make a difference in people's lives”. I start from this sentence that inspired my application for the competition. My name is F..., called Tigre, and I have been "living" for some years with a group of women (a few dozen) who have breast surgery. I am their athletic trainer, specifically I teach them to paddle on the Dragon Boat for rehabilitation purposes for mind and body. I shared, listened to and absorbed their stories, all different from each other, just as their way of being a woman is different.
Discover and rediscover the tumor, three times
Each of "my" women has traveled a difficult road, which started uphill with the discovery of the disease, breast cancer. All of them set out towards more or less demolishing interventions, towards tailor-made therapies like a precious atelier dress: to each of her her very personal armor to fight and possibly win.
There are dozens of women who couldn't be more different in terms of physicality, profession, age and experience and this richness makes them unique. I have always been struck by their spontaneous absence of rivalry, which is not a given in a group of women only. No one has ever tried to prevaricate, show off, excel. On the contrary, I have seen a wave of positivity, sharing, mutual help and enthusiasm towards the achievement of a common goal. The joy of one is the joy of all, as are the moments of difficulty. Everything is shared empathically, they encourage and "infect" each other with "beautiful" and "good". They are so “amazing” that they are addictive. Those who thought about leaving the group due to personal difficulties came back with a bang, simply saying "I missed you".
Stealing time from illness, with a smile
It is wonderful to watch them share their experiences and welcome the newcomers with warmth and sisterhood. The boulder of the disease that fell on each of them did not crush and annihilate them, but on the contrary shattered the armor of fear and uncertainty, releasing an unsuspected force. The group, the team has really made a difference in their lives.
The weekly outings to the lake on the Dragone are experiences of incomparable beauty and priceless value, in a wonderful nature with spectacular sunsets. When they paddle to the rhythm of the drummer with synchronous movements they express all the love they have inside: they know that together they will reach the finish line, gritting their teeth because whoever stops becomes a burden and ballast for the others. And they know this well.
Stealing time from illness, with a smile
I consider myself a lucky man to be able to share many hours of my life with them. I think of them when I compose formations and crews and plan strategies. And with each victory, the finish line, physically crossed by those sitting on the boat, is a victory for all, even by those who loudly incited their companions from the rocks. All winners, all athletes equally.
In the end, hugs, kisses and even tears are fuel for me that recharges me and spurs me to follow them with renewed enthusiasm and professionalism. In this writing I have deliberately privileged the positive side of rebirth which must be tenaciously sought immediately. Without their illness I would never have met them, I would never have experienced the emotions that only they can give. Heartfelt thanks to MY pink hurricane women.
"When everything collapses, only the essential remains", a son's farewell to his mother