“I am most passionate about bringing my knowledge [of tasting] to consumers, “said an enthusiastic Orietta Gianjorio, a native Italian from Rome,...
The first written record of Lacrosse dates back to the 1636 when a French Jesuit priest by the name of Jean de Brebeuf observed a group of Huron Indians playing a sport called stickball in the St. Lawrence Valley.
It was originally played by the Algonquian tribe and quickly gained popularity amongst other Native American tribes. Stickball was considered a major event by the tribes who played it and teams were usually comprised of large groups of people. Estimates reflected anywhere from 100 players to up into the thousands participating in a single game. When Brebeuf wrote about his experience watching the game, he dubbed it "lacrosse."
The sport's history is still fairly young in Italy - dating back only to 2003 when Italian Fabio Antonelli and Italian-American Robert Corna teamed up to form "Roma Leones Club," the first Italian lacrosse team - but its young age does not diminish its popularity.
Today, the Men's Italian National Lacrosse team is preparing for the upcoming 2014 World Lacrosse Championship in Denver, Co. July 10-19 hosted by the Federation of International Lacrosse. Theirs is a situation, however, unique from the other teams planning to fly in from around the world: They have no sponsors to help fund their participation in the tournament.
After losing their sponsor following the 2012 European Championships tournament, members of the Italian National team have been working tirelessly to raise funds and find new sponsors for this upcoming tournament in Denver, according to starting goalkeeper and San Diego native Gian-Marco Ciallella, who is now based out of Garden Grove in Orange County.
"Our team is comprised of 20 Native Italian lacrosse players located throughout Italy," Ciallella explained by e-mail. "Currently there are 8 teams competing in the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Lacrosse. Rome, Torino, Perugia, Bologna, Merate, San Marino, La Spezia, Bocconi (Milan), and the newest one is Prato. We have also added 2 women teams in Rome and Milan in the past calendar year. We also have 4 Italian-Americans who are eligible for Italian Passports and 2 Dual Citizens on the squad."
Currently, Ciallella said an estimated minimum of $30,000 is needed in order to fly the Italian members to the States, provide uniforms and other apparel needs for the team, lodging and other various expenses involved in the tournament.
The team has attempted several different ways to raise the funds - creating an online donation page and promoting it through social media, approaching companies directly for possible sponsorship, even reaching out to friends and family for donations - but have been met with "very little success," Ciallella says. To date, their GoFundMe online donations page has raised only 80 Euro - just over $100.
"We want everyone who's earned a spot on the Italian National team to be able to play," Ciallella said. "If we can't find some sort of help, we're worried that some of the guys who have the best talent and they deserve to be on the team are gonna have to watch [the tournament] streamed online instead of participating because they can't afford it."
Ciallella expressed that participating in the tournament goes beyond simply competing for medals and trophies for the Italian team; it is "an honor to represent Italy in the best way possible."
Donations can continue to be made on the team's GoFundMe page in any given amount. Those interested in making donations can view the online fundraising page at http://www.gofundme.com/43o4ck