I wore this jersey as a volleyball player. I spent 7 years wearing it.
Since I was little, I did sports. First gymnastics and then, when I suddenly got taller and the tiny gym equipment didn’t fit me, I switched to volleyball!
My team became my second family. The endless hours of training gave me moments of pride, joy, sadness, and exhaustion.
Going to school, studying, training: I was committed to this during my teenage years, and learned to love routine and discipline.
On the court, my teammates and I talked about our everyday school life issues, analyzing fights among friends and whispering about our first attempts at flirting.
Back then I didn’t understand the value of sport – apart from its obvious benefits on physical health and general well-being.
It wasn’t until later that I realized how volleyball taught me to work and create as a team. I learned how to recognize mine and my teammates’ strengths and weaknesses.
“Study your opponent”, our coach would tell us.
Joy is greater when shared, sadness is eased. The goal becomes stronger and fear is shared.
I learned to trust my teammates, to give them courage whenever they hadn’t reacted in time and to move on straight away. In volleyball – as in life – we never dwell on the last phase as there is no time for analysis.
We live in the Now.
I learned about the body’s valuable contribution to emotional relaxation. By clapping your hands vigorously, you gain courage. You shout to vent your tension and promise that next time you’ll be able to call the bluff.
Growing up, I understood the value of being in a team in other areas of my life as well.
I created teams like Different & Different, a group of people with a common goal of haute gastronomy. Although the team is made up of professionals of different specialties and references, we managed to work together, with a shared passion.
Many times, especially at events such as dinner parties, weddings and receptions, we act like a volleyball team, with Christoforos as our coach and me as the central player passing the ball,
giving pace and courage to the team.
During these events, we are often faced with reversals, to which we must momentarily adapt with no margin for error. By “passing the ball” to each other, in order to cope with the new situation, we weigh our reflexes and devise solutions (just like a volleyball team does on a difficult serve).
You have to be ready to change the direction of the ball. And as much as you try to be ready to welcome it in your arms, it deceives you by making a topspin.
In the end, we leave the yelling and tension behind, embrace and laugh out loud. A loud “Zdo!”
(that means “Zito”, “long live”)
Although I rarely find time to play volleyball anymore, I always look back on the invaluable lessons it has instilled in me, culminating in that “we” is better than “me.”
With the right “team”, life rises to the heights of quality and happiness, and the impossible seems possible!