21st of August 2016, I was sent my flight details confirming that i would be moving to Paris to take the next step in pursuing my career in volleyball. I was greeted at the Airport by our Assistant Coach Julien, who is also acting as manager. Julien filled me in on the team and a bit of the schedule for the next few weeks as we were traveling to a small island off the western coast of France for our annual preseason team bonding camp. ��During our preseason camp at Île de Ré while everyone was still learning names, I was giving the nicknames “Harry Potter” and “Clarke Kent” due to wearing glasses. With only two trainings a day we had a lot of time to get to know each other and muck around in the pool or go for a short walk down to the beach and enjoy the warm weather in the evenings.
Back in Paris our preseason continued for another month with a gym session in the morning with the occasional reception session followed by volleyball training in the afternoon and for four of us, François “Chico” Perrot (22, My House mate/Pass Hitter), Dimi Walgenwitz(22, Setter), Simon Dubreuil (22, Pass Hitter) and myself we had and extra 2 court trainings with the second team.��I live just outside the city in Arcueil, its about 20 minutes walk to training and 10-15 minutes by train in to the heart of Paris. Being able to live with Chico was very helpful at the start as i don’t speak any french and not a lot of french people like to speak english, not that they can't but they do not want to. To quote the clubs President’s New Year speech, “I am a Frenchman Not an English man, We are in France so tonight i was speak French” Michel Rougeyron. Now living with Chico is just pure entertainment, he's good fun and just as stupid as i am sometimes.��I had a very good friend of mine came to visit for a week in September. It was good to be able to see Linford again. But because i still had training, i only had a small period of time to go and explore Paris with him but never the less we still got to go and see the sights. I had two other friends who are playing in France this year come to Paris the same weekend as Linford so we spent the whole weekend walking around being tourists. While Linford was exploring the city i was lucky enough to meet two of my volleyball idols, Nikola Kovacevic and Earvin Ngapeth, Linford narrowly missing out on both them by only a few minutes each time. 3 weeks later i got the chance to see my parents again, My father had work in the Netherlands so he thought he’d stop by Paris on the way up and My mother decided she would come and stay with me for a few days as well. ��I can’t express how grateful i am to have this opportunity, to be apart of one of the most successful teams in France and training with world class players who have represented their country and played with world renowned clubs like Modena Volley, Trentino Volley, Noliko Maaseik, VfB Friedrichshafen and Olympiacos Piraeus. Every training provides a new learning experience, even if It is a game day morning reception training the guys still provide me with feedback and push me to be better in every aspect of my game. All of our trainings are in french sometimes understanding what were are doing is a little bit confusing but after the first few months as i learnt more french it has become a lot easier to understand and i need a lot less translated. Since its all in french, as soon as i need technical coaching it becomes difficult as our coach Dorian Rougeyron sometimes finds it hard to translate to english as some of the words are only used in french volleyball. Luckily the senior guys on the team are happy to give me pointers and help me out. ��This season Paris Volley, on top of competing in our regular league we are also participating in Champions League. We have been put in Pool C against Zenit Kazan, VfB Friedrichshafen and Arkas Izmir. So far we have played 2 games, first game we played Vfb Friedrichshafen and lost in a tight 5 set match. Just before Christmas the team traveled to a very cold (-32) Russia to verse Zenit Kazan, Kazan proved once again why they're are possibly the best team in the world as of right now beating us 3-0. Next week we play Izmir hoping to get our first points of the board giving us the chance of still progressing through to the next round of playoffs. In the regular league how ever we are doing really well. We are sitting in 3rd spot right now after getting revenge on Ajaccio )3-1) after they beat us in a 5 set match in the French Super cup at the beginning of the season. Another match to mention was the “Classico”, 2015-16 Final rematch, Paris Volley VS Tours VB. We played an outstanding game and was able to walk away with a 3-0 victory. ��Since I'm still classified as a junior i am able to play for the first and second team here at Paris Volley. It allows me to train more and gives me a lot more opportunities for game time. Unfortunately we have not been able to have the same luck as the first team, playing five 5 set matches and only being able to come away with one win from that leaving our season win loss ratio to 3 and 7. This meaning we are out of play-offs and now are competing to stay in the league for next season. With training from this team as well, i am get about 16 hours of training on the court and 5 hours in the gym per week.
While life in Paris is great fun through out the week i do not have any family here so for Christmas i fortunate enough to be invited to Denmark to spend a few days there with my Danish family who i lived with last year during my season with Middelfart. I couldn't be more grateful to be able to spend Christmas with a bunch of people who mean so much to me. Not until now, i never realised how important maintaining a healthy relationship with friends and family is, not being able to see the ones you care about more than once or twice a year is honestly heartbreaking. Being here i have had a lot of time to reflect on my actions and the things i have done so now since its a new year i will be taking a step forward and make sure I am doing everything i can to be a better person than i was yesterday.