Hanyang's Volleyball Player Stepping Up into the Pro Game
Rookie of the Skywalkers, Hong Min-gi (Division of Sports and Well-being, 5th year, the ERICA Campus)
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The 2017-18 season V League successfully started its first game on October 14th. The Skywalkers, the team of Hyundai Capital, also started off with a victory. In this sky-rocketing team, rookies were selected through a draft on the 25th of September, enjoying their first victory as a professional. Hong Min-gi (Division of Sports and Well-being, 5th year, the ERICA Campus), was selected by the Skywalkers as a center this day and is now living his life as a professional volleyball player.
From Hanyang to Skywalkers
Most players start their life as a professional through the draft. Seven pro volleyball teams in Korea pick their new team members in order, by placing a player’s name from the board to their own team’s board. Once the players are of age, they can freely participate in the draft according to their own will. “All players are extremely nervous during this process. Most of them look pale since this decides their life as a professional,” reminisced Hong. In this state of tension, Hong was proudly selected in the first round, by the Skywalkers, for his noticeable skills in blocking. He also added, “It still feels like I’m dreaming. My head is full of volleyball 24 hours these days.”
Hong, now, stays together in the ‘Castle of Skywalkers’, a base camp in Cheon-an with his team members for training. As a rookie, he had to fit into a whole new environment with new people. “The team generally has a free atmosphere. I did feel afraid of the training before I entered the Skywalkers. However, after personally experiencing it, I realized I am training in a more effective way,” said Hong. It has not been long since the season started, so he explained that he is currently doing his best to blend well into the group. He constantly showed gratitude to his team members who helped him feel comfortable in a new environment.
Hong also reminisced about his life in Hanyang University’s volleyball team. Hanyang University has been constantly participating in the universities’ volleyball leagues and is showing fine grades. 16 students participate in the volleyball team, and they practice enthusiastically. “It is definitely an outstanding team. Most players have talent, making the team expect development every day,” explained Hong. However, he also explained about his hardships. Since his major had classes on the ERICA campus, he and other students had to travel to the Seoul campus after classes ended. He remembered, “We had to put extra care into our health since it was a harsh schedule. But it was truly worth it.”
Life of volleyball
Hong's volleyball career is comparatively shorter than that of other players. He first started volleyball when he was in high school, even though he initially prepared for a sports major. “I had no interest in my studies, leaving me with no decent choice of universities. My parents, looking at me doing nothing, recommended me to at least find a thing I can do consistently. That’s how I started volleyball.” After he started volleyball, he found not only an interest but also talent in volleyball. He loved practicing volleyball and was fascinated by it. He realized he started it way later than others, and therefore devoted more hours into volleyball. He would come earlier than others, and practice movements he wasn’t good at. His effort eventually did give him a wonderful result.
Hong’s life, however, wasn’t all that ideal. To sports players, their body condition is crucial. Especially when a lot of jumping is required, the cruciate ligaments of a knee plays an important role. During a match in university, his cruciate ligament was ruptured when he bumped into another player. Moreover, this fact did not cause a major problem. Hong reminisced, “I was too arrogant with my body when I wasn’t supposed to. My body recovered better than others, so I ignored the precautions and continued playing games.” His cruciate ligament therefore ruptured again in the same year and came to a point when the doctor suggested him to quit volleyball. “I deeply thought about what I can truly enjoy other than volleyball that whole day. However, I came to a conclusion there is nothing other than volleyball that makes me happy and enthusiastic. The next day, I told my mother in earnest I would give it one last try.”
This incident became a turning point to Hong. He also explained the fears that came along with an injury. “It’s not the injury itself that’s most threatening. It’s not the fact you can’t perform as well. The most threatening part is that you start making an excuse for why you shouldn’t try your best. You start self-justifying yourself and that’s actually the very problem a lot of the players quit after their injuries.” After he overcame his injuries, he is now back up again showing what he has. When asked for his happiest moment in his volleyball life, he didn’t pick a particular incident. “I am happy every single moment I play volleyball. I now have a job of what I like the most. Why should I have a particular moment?” smiled Hong.
Now, as a professional volleyball player, he is planning to do his best again in his status. “Most volleyball players wish to become a member of the national team, and that’s my final dream as well. It’s definitely not easy, but I want to be able to play games with the Taegeuk mark on my chest,” wished Hong. As he explained that volleyball is not a game that is decided by the individual abilities, he elucidated, "it is a sport with the power of unity that is the most emphasized since players have to sacrifice themselves for a better attack." He promised, “As a rookie, I want to show my liveliness and passion for the Skywalkers. I wish to be a player who can excel while fitting well into the team.”
On Jung-yun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Park young-min
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