Stay true to yourself & play your own game

As a player for the Dutch Female Volleyball team, each year I spend five months at the Dutch National Sports Centre in Papendal. Right in de middle of the woods in Arnhem you can find all the best (Olympic) athletes of our country. Everybody trains and eats here. A couple of the athletes even live here, in Hotel Papendal and other part – including me – live in a house nearby. Two weeks ago I ‘met’ a new young athlete at Papendal. 

Not only adults, but also young adults are living in the hotel of our sports accomodation. The talents of the young Dutch teams are training and living here to become a ‘sport hero’ one day. I remember my first evening very well. I was 14 years old. My mum drove me, while my father stayed at home with my younger brother Fabian. Me and my mum decorated my new room and hung up some shelfs. After we had some tea together, it was time for her to go. She hugged me tight while I stood there, stiff as a board. She said goodbye and walked out of the door. There I was, all alone in my room. The air of fresh paint was too noticeable and I felt so lonely. Fortunately when I saw my teammates the next morning I felt a bit better.

It runs in the family
Two weeks ago it was time for my 17 year old brother Fabian to move to here as well. Yes, our talent for volleyball runs in the family! At first my brother didn’t like volleyball that much. He rather played soccer with his friends, until a few years back. He was approached through one of my connections to attend a volleyball training. After some bro and sis talk he got excited and went to a training. It definitely paid off; after two years he got selected for the Dutch National Youth team.


“Just stay true to yourself and play your own game”
As his big sister, I really wanted to give him a happy first night at Papendal. The first thing we did was place the Surinam flag on the wall of his room. When our parents left we played ping pong (we did best of 7, he won) and some games on the PlayStation. I also brought my individual price for Best Wing Spiker that I received during the World Grand Prix this summer. When I left his room – without taking the price with me –  he said: aren’t you forgetting something?’ I said: ‘No, that’s for you, to inspire you to play well. You’ll do great, because you are a Plak just like me. Just stay true to yourself and play your own game.’ We gave eachother a big warm hug, and when I left I saw him chatting with some of his teammates. I’m really happy that I got to spend his first night together; like a family.

If you have any questions to me or my fellow teammates, please let me know! I love hearing from you Fit Girls!


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