Thursday, May 31, 2007

Smashing balls.

Cousin Jerzyk says: “Let’s go see the match”.
In the local sports centre of the small town of Nowy Sadz in the South of Poland an international volleyball match will take place.
It is the women team of Muszynianka, a town near the city of Krakow, Poland, and the women team of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA who are going to smash balls at each other.

During the time Poland was under the influence of the USSR and ruled by Communist politicians, the country did not flourish.
There was, among others, stagnation of the development of infrastructure and this can be noticed even today: there are hardly highways in Poland.
But since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and Poland joined the European Union in 2004, rapidly things are changing.
There is an economic boom taking place in Poland.
The European Union is investing billions of Euros in Poland.
The Polish borders are open now for international import and export.
And booming comes from millions of Poles, taking the opportunity to now travel freely to Western Europe and being able to legally work there, returning with pockets full of Euros.

Poland was visited for the first time in 1963 and it was a sad experience seeing the proud Poles suffer in miserable circumstances simply for political reasons.
But now almost a revolution has been taking place.
For example, the Town hall of Nowy Sadz was visited where people go to get a driving license and other civil legalities.
Although in an old building, it is magnificently restored and the interior very modern, efficient and pleasant.

The same for the sports hall where the volleyball match between Muszynianka and the University of Southern California took place.
Arriving there in cousin Jerzyk’s Porsche Cayenne, the match turned out to be in a most modern sports complex.
The local population has a facility available only found in well developed countries.

The international volleyball match made many people come to the sports hall.
All seats filled and even many people sitting on the floor and standing in the aisles.
The sound was deafening.
Big drums beaten to support the teams.
Public shouting and singing and clapping hands.

It was impressing how those young athletes remained cool in this turbulence.
Not only must a volleyball player know well how to play, but as important is not to be intimidated by the situation.
To control the nerves and remain focused and concentrated on handling the ball in a winning way.

The first set was for the Polish team.
But the second set was won by the Americans.
As from then, it seemed an easy ride for the Polish women.
They won the next two sets and the match.

It was interesting to observe the coaching of both teams.
The team of the University of Southern California consisted of Caucasian girls only.
No Hispanic, Asian or African Americans.

The American coach was a bold headed man frequently requesting a time-out and busy writing notes, doing calculations and advising the girls on strategies.
He paced up and down the field arms folded and seemingly relaxed.
The coaching of the Polish team was by three men who hardly requested time-outs and it seemed they simply left the girls on their own.
They just sat there and made no notes nor had many advices to give.
It must have been a deliberate strategy of coaching because this team from Muszynianka is one of the best in Poland.

After the match there was a beautiful thing to see.
Although there was heavy security by men in camouflage battle clothes, the American girls were surrounded by Polish fans who wanted to talk to them and be together in a picture.

In the end, it is not so important who wins.
More essential is to be open and socialize.

No comments: