With his last approach, Bruno Suardi still hit the target, yes, but not close to the ball; this time he decided to bring the bowls closer to the celestial lanes, in the afterlife.
“Mister Millimetro”, several times world bowls champion, has gone to play other games, in an otherworldly dimension, he who instead has always been so tied to his own land: the Lombard land, the Pavia area in particular, where ‘an extraordinary sporting career had begun, sixty years ago, which took him to the top of the world.
On Saturday 10 September 1983, at the Palapenz in Chiasso, Switzerland, together with Dante D’Alessandro, Afro Molinari and Angelo Papandrea, Suardi won the first edition of the Bocce World Championships for teams reserved for the Raffa specialty. The Technical Commissioner was then another from Pavia: Piero Bassi, who, two years later, in September 1985, had again called “Mister Millimetro” in Milan for the second edition of the World Cup. At the Palalido in Piazzale Stuparich, on synthetic lanes set up for the occasion, not at all easy to tame, Suardi had enchanted the public with a series of approaches similar to real ballistic magic.
So wrote Brera
The great journalist Gianni Brera was so impressed that he wrote in Repubblica: “Suardi from Pavia accompanied the ball to the pallino like a master who would commit to strings or brass the task of attaching a flat and delicate motif to its sweetness”.
On the other hand, he was the best point player in the history of football, without a doubt.
Not an easy life, his. Born in Pavia on 14 December 1941, he met and married Agnese with whom he saw fit to have six children: Donatella, Robertto, Elisabetta, Claudia, Pierangela and Alessandro. The salary as a municipal employee was not always enough; therefore, given his own attitudes, the good Bruno has dedicated himself to bowls, with the idea of scrapping together some prizes, just to supplement the meager pay and help the family.
Generous heart, but reserved and introverted, Suardi has written important pages of what we call “romantic bowling”. He played in tandem with many champions, winning numerous regional and national matches.
In very strong teams
We remember, among the field mates: the Valsecchi from Valsecchi, Claudio Bossoletti from Tortona, Rino Fossati from Voghera, Rinaldo Monico from Lodi, Tino Bardoni from beyond the Po Valley, Marzolini from Piacenza and the brothers Stefano and Mauro Perotti. Then, of course, there are the most important sporting chapters, linked to the vintages played in tandem with the Godiaschese Carlo Figini – excellent and talented flying bowler – with the “great champion” of Irian Romano Scampoli and with the acrobatic from Bressan Serafino Gatti. In the period in which Suardi was paired with Scampoli, wearing the jersey of the Terme di Salice, the writer had nicknamed them “the SS of bowls” because of the sporting cruelty with which they eliminated their opponents; among their most prestigious victories, the legendary “Thousand Couples” stands out, when the final stages were disputed in the historic “Cimbali” bowling green which stood in the Gratosoglio district of Milan. The years in which “Mister Millimetro” played with Gatti, a true phenomenon of bowls, deserve a separate story.
1982, for example, was an unrepeatable season, which has remained in the annals: 50 victories out of 52 races, of which 28 were national; tournaments whose scoreboards counted 512 or even 1024 pairs. Other times. “Romantic Boccismo”, precisely.
Unfortunately, Bruno has only one gripe left: despite having won the rainbow jersey with the national team, he has never managed to win a tricolor title. He has come close to it many times. Back in 1972, in Motta di Livenza, paired with a very young Gatti, he had given up in the face of the glittering and imperious game of Monico and “Cina” Franchi from Lodi. Later, in 1996, paired with Mauro Perotti – another immensely talented flyer – when both were wearing the “Poiani” jersey from Lodi, the final of the Assoluti seemed to have already been won; but, in Reggio Emilia, inside a Palazzetto dello Sport crowded beyond belief, bad luck has given us a hand and something more, denying Suardi the satisfaction of an Italian title that he would have deserved more than anyone else .
Mysteries of sport. Mysteries of fate. That same fate that, today, has decided to make “Mister Millimeter” immortal.
Bruno Suardi, in fact, is no more: he is gone, leaving us sad and heartbroken; but the myth of “Mister Millimetro” remains and will remain forever in the history of Italian football and sport. Hello champion!
As he used to write “Gioanbrerafucarlo”: – May the earth be light to you …
On Thursday morning the farewell mass was celebrated for the great Boccista from Pavia. The funeral was organized by the family in the neighborhood church in Città Giardino. In addition to sporting activity, Bruno Suardi had been a municipal employee and was very well known, as well as the six children he had from his wife Agnese who died some time ago.