Episode 5: The Babe Ruth of Oina
He doesn’t remember the exact number of the trophies he has won. “I believe there were 17 championships and 15 Romanian Cups”, Nicolae Pasarica says. But just a glance at a trophy brings back memories from the game. “When I look at a trophy I immediately start remembering moments from that game. It remains in my mind like a film”, he says. He is Nicolae Pasarica, considered by many the best oina player of all time. Nicolae Pasarica was born in the village of Olteni, in Teleorman district in the south part of Romania. Olteni is a village rooted in oina tradition. Many players from the village team called Viata Nousa Olteni were selected for the big teams. On a Sunday morning in the middle of September Nicu Pasarica drinks his coffee at the village pub next to the monument dedicated to the fallen soldiers in First World War. The villagers come to shake his hand and to ask him about the game that is about to start. He waits for more people to gather so they could all migrate to a field by the forest, about a mile away from the village’s pub. Every year the Georgescu brothers, both oina players, organize a game of oina in the memory of their father. The older generations play against the younger and this is the only time of the year when Pasarica plays oina. To be a good oina player, an athlete must have certain qualities. “You have to constantly be at the bat, you have to be a good defender, be a good pitcher and know how to throw the ball and hit the opponent so you can score points”, he says. At the beginning of the ‘90s while he was a playing for the team Dinamo Bucuresti, the president of the international baseball federation, Robert Smith came to visit Romania. In his honor the Romanian Oina Federation organized a game of oina between two teams formed from the best oina players. “It was a time to show off oina. Something extraordinary”, says Pasarica. At the end of the game Robert Smith told Pasarica that if he would move to the United States to play baseball he would be worth 2 million dollars. He didn’t leave, but when he tells the story his voice is filled with a certain sadness. I was 12 years old when a school grade teacher saw me playing oina and selected me for the school’s team. While in high school he had many oina players that he admired. The first one that comes to his mind is Dacau Ilie from the printing factory senior’s team. Later Pasarica joined that very same team and in time he became a better player than his idol. “I embraced this sport and with a little bit of luck through sports I manages to also retire and have a pension”, says Pasarica.
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