Rebirth of the Center
Friday 20 February 2009 by legendary_totoro
The Desert Crossing
After our previous victory, I had hopes things would change regarding the difficulties I’ve been through for switching posts. It was a harsh year/championship and it consumed a lot of time and energy.
Well, the next season has already started at the end of September 2008. The same guys remain and we welcomed back Jean-Marc, the substitute setter of Venus who’s been alternating from Pirae and Venus for the last 2 years. As he didn’t had that much of time on the ground, he came back to Pirae where he originally played.
The next season has started at the end of September 2008 and I missed the first few training sessions due to work which overwhelmed me. As a matter of fact, I’m now in direct competition with J-M for playtime. He’s a natural setter and is technically superior to me. I’m taller than him and I’m confident I’m superior to him, physically speaking. He has a small edge in terms of setting but I think I’m in the lead in terms of blocking and relation with the other players.
Anyway, I’m playing about the same about of time as him on all the first part of the championship. The playtime is divided evenly which is a good thing for me as I feared I would become a permanent substitute.
On the other hand, as we divide evenly the number of ball we receive, I’ve found myself unable to get the same volume of play comparatively to last year. Thus, I haven’t been progressing that much if not actually regressing... The numbers of ball I get to play has been split into 2 and you can’t ask for a rookie setter to evolve from such a cut.
It’s been a weary journey from September to December when I barely felt pleasure in playing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me or J-M as we’re good friends who live as neighbors. I’m used to pick him up to go for training and drive him back from time to time, and we speak openly about anything. It’s more of some uneasiness going on. I don’t really know how to describe it. The feeling has been growing stronger by the week and I was just lost in the middle of that storm.
On the last match before the end-year break, we played at Tiarei against a team of young players that probably don’t realize what level they were put in. The match is one-sided and after two sets of mop up time I’m put back into my center position.
It’s been a while since our centers (Vaana & Terou) actually proved themselves in a match and displayed poor skills against that team of youngsters.
So I’m now back home where I haven’t performed for over a year but I just guess things like that don’t just go away... I made a tremendous block one on one against a pipe attack. The sound of it made the crowd wake up from their slumber and it also felt really good to me. I started to get hyped and managed to score a back door attack. It’s awesome to be back in business like that, trust me. I then had several confrontations in the air and performed some amazing streak of blocks. There was just no stopping me.
The game ended and I was like a sleeping dragon that just got woke up. Everybody in the team was just surprised to see me perform so well, especially after 3 months of just so-so play as a setter. Anyway, we took the road to go back and on our way, we stopped to get something to eat (11 pm here so we’re starving !).
People were still talking about the match and several ones were pointing to our centers what they should learn from such a lesson. I’m not usually good at being a model or anything, but it gave me some ego boost to hear the captain picking on Vaana and Terou.
Reborn Like the Phoenix
After that last match of 2008, we were tied for the lead with Venus with only one loss. Good thing before the break. The second part of the championship will be interesting as no clear leader has emerged (Tefana third place with 2 losses). It’s also nice to rest ourselves after such a long first part.
As you should know, I went to Paris during that time and had some time to play as an attacker again with one of the best setter (if not the best) I’ve played with. Along with the good times with the buddies, I’ve rekindled my spirit as a center at those times, making good moves at the block and in the offense department.
Then, as always, good things just have to stop and I went back to Tahiti. The second part of the championship started soon after I arrived so didn’t had much time to catch back the jet lag.
Nonetheless, I started playing again as a center. The training sessions were hard to keep up with at the beginning because I didn’t recover fast enough from my trip and I just got overwhelmed by work again. Even though, when the time to play in a match came, I did just fine I guess. At the very least, I didn’t make terrible errors that cost my team too much. At least, I wasn’t any worse than the other two centers.
The last few training sessions I was doing very good as an attacker and even better as a blocker. It’s good to give some chills to our centers and it’s even better to give our best attackers some beat down in the air =)
Fly Me to the Moon
All these good moves and the continuity of my work caught some attention in the eyes of our coach who’s also the president of the club and the president of the federation (talk about cumulative seats huh ?).
He planned some selection between all kinds of players from all around Tahiti in order to set a team up and go compete in Australia. The next Oceania Games are coming in 18 months so it’s about time to build up a team. I participated in the selections, given the support I had from my team, coach and club.
The results were posted a few days ago, and I’ve been accepted !!
I’m now an official member of the Tahitian Team who’s going to Australia in April. I’ll be playing as both a center and a setter which is quite a surprising combination. I’m actually selected as a super-substitute who can play 2 important posts. This may be a budget selection because I only take one seat in the plane instead of two, but I’m happy nonetheless.
This ends my catching up with you on volleyball, keep looking around for me ;)