IMOCO, THE SYMPHONY OF THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

I had a dream. I had a dream and it came true. The past week was the perfect opportunity for one of my dreams to come true. My dream was about me being the guide of my favorite volleyball team for the Champions League Final Four tournament. And it happened.

To cut a long story short: I am huge fan of IMOCO VOLLEY CONEGLIANO , the italian champions of 2016 and 2018 and the runners up of last year’s Champions League. I first heard about this women’s volleyball club in 2012 when they entered the Italian Serie A. I watched them closely as I sensed there is something special about this club and I was right. There is such a „joie de vivre” and so much good spirit at this team that makes it impossible not to like them. So, when the opportunity came along, I grabbed it with my two hands and volunteered to be their guide for this year’s Champions League Final Four tournament that took place in Bucharest.

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You may wonder why am I writing about sport on my music blog? Because, for me, last week was an almost perfect symphony. I was told by the organizers that the three foreign teams (Galatasaray Istanbul, Vakifbank Istanbul and Imoco Volley) are arriving on Thursday evening so together with the other two team guides we headed towards the airport to greet them.  My heart and mind were pumped with all kind of beats going beyond 120 BPM. I was hyped and energetic as a techno song. Something like this:

Galatasaray and Vakifbank arrived just fine and I was honored and pleased to greet and to know legendary figures of volleyball: Neslihan Demir of Galatasaray, Gozde Kirdar, Zhu Ting and Giovanni Guideti of Vakifbank, the Turkish ambassador in Romania and so on. But my team, my yellow-blue ladies were not here yet. Their flight was delayed and so the wait took longer and longer and longer. It was like having to listen to an entire concert of so and so songs, performed by some so on so artists, before getting to the song and artist you love. And, around midnight, they finally arrived. I was super excited and happy to be able to meet and greet my favorite player in the world, Joanna Wolosz. I was super pleased to meet all the others: Kimberly, Robin, Samantha, Silvia, Anna, Monica, Simone, Elisa, Laura, Marta, Anna D., Samanta, Daniele, Luca, Terry, Alessio, Valerio, Milo, Elia, Claudio, Gianfranco and the others. In that moment, for me, the best song in the world was unfolding in front of my eyes.

I had the opportunity to be around this amazing group of people during the training sessions and I was amazed by their drills and the way every player executed them with a huge smile on her face.

I had the opportunity to be next to them at the official press conference, during the journey from the hotel to the venue. I had the privilege of finding  out a lot of things about how a true professional club is organised. I had the opportunity to sing together with them a true and sincere happy birthday to Robin „The Queen” for her birthday. I had the privilege of making great, new friends. They are indeed a family, they are indeed a solid group of great players and staff. They are indeed a group of amazing personalities and characters. I suffered with them and trust me when I say that their defeat against Vakifbank broke my heart. It really did and it hasn’t yet recovered. I would have loved a final between Imoco and Alba Blaj. I would have loved Imoco to win this competition. Other teams may have financial power, other teams might have asian robots but Imoco has HEART, THEY HAVE SOUL, THEY ARE HUMANS not legends, not gods. They are humans and that makes them imperfect yet perfect. They are a perfect symphony. In musical terms they are not just one music genre. They are rock and they are techno, they are ballad and they are tarantella. They are extraordinary. In sports, they are the most beautiful song I have ever came across.

All the teams present here in Bucharest were amazing. The best players in the world, some of the best coaches and some extraordinary life stories. Chapeau for Alba Blaj and everything they managed to achieve during this competition. They are the proof that miracles do exist. They are the proof that when you believe something with all your heart it can be done. I know the girls from Blaj and I know what a terrible and hard season they had. They came out of it like winners and miracle workers and that is what counts in the end. For me, Alba Blaj is a page of history in the book of volleyball legends. They are that song that no one gives a shit about in the beginning but in the end it breaks all the records. They were and are amazing. Adina, Selime, Sasha, Nneka, Petya, you and all your teammates have all my consideration and respect. Forever.

A lot of respect and great words for Galatasaray Istanbul as well. For their trainer who is a monument of fair-play (below you see his words after the match lost against Alba Blaj and you’ll understand). For Neslihan Demir who has done more than anyone else for this sport in Turkey. She is a huge icon and a huge player. She is a great person and she will always have her place in the history of world volleyball. She retires now and she will be missed. But I am honored that I had the chance to meet her and to talk to her.

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And also all my best to the most powerful team in the world: Vakifbank Istanbul. When there is money everything is easier :). But I must admit that the level of volleyball developed by this team is tremendous. Zhu Ting is a robot and the best player in the world. Gozde Kirdar is the heart and soul of this team and coach Guidetti is lucky to have such players at his disposal. But he is, nevertheless, a huge manager. He truly is. I’ve got the perfect song for them :).

And so, I return to my friends from Imoco. I am counting the days for when we’ll meet again as their spirit and state of mind is contagious. This article may seem like too much praise for one team. You might say „what’s the deal with them? they are just a volleyball team”. From the outside they could seem to be „just another volleyball team”. They are not. They are a state of mind. They are happiness, they are joy, they are sorrow, tears and hard work. They are friendship and they are humans. They are my friends. THEY ARE ALIVE AND THEY ARE EVERYTHING WHAT LIFE SHOULD BE ABOUT: THEY ARE ALL ABOUT LIVING THE MOMENT!

 

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