Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Devil's Playground (ENG)

     A lot of things happened this last weeks. But the most important one was today.

     First of all I would like to apologize for the fact that I did not write in the last period. I am in Hintertux (AUT) training and I have problems connecting to the internet at my current accommodation. I am actually at a bar writing right now.

     As I was saying, today was a great victory for me. No, not on the slope. To tell you the full tale we need to go back to September 2012. In the spring of 2012 I decided to resume skiing, after quitting in 2010. One of my first concerned was, of course, the finances. The man in charge of alpine skiing at the club I was a member of (CS Dinamo Bucuresti)  made it clear I would get no support whatsoever from the club. Fair enough, I expected it. Somebody who dose not believe in you will never help you. Truth be told, I don't want help from people who do not believe in me. The search for a new club began. After asking some people close to me for some advice, I was pointed in the direction of CSM Sibiu. I asked if it was possible, and so it was.In September 2012 I went at the club to meet the director, tell him my goals and see what he could help me with. I was very happy after that discussion. He promised me 4 pairs of skis in January. Perfect. I left his office very happy, knowing the help I was about to get in January. Signed. Now lets fast forward a bit. Oct-nov-dec-jan (?)- feb- mar-apr-may. Good season. Discovered Downhill. It was yet uncertain if I would qualify for the Olympics. The promised skis were nowhere to be seen. Thankfully I managed to have a good season with the help of my university, where I was a Level 1 Sport Scholar (again, thank you Coventry). A new club contacted me, offered me a great deal. The date was 30 may 2013, Thursday. Friday was the day of the transfer window (yes, we also have transfer windows). So naturally Friday morning I was at the offices of CSM Sibiu, so the director could sign some papers making me free and available for the new club. I didn't think, even for a second, that I would have problems there, especially since the club did not give me what was promised and I did not do any race for them (I did no race in Romania and when you race abroad it is considered you are racing for country, not club). My discussion with the director (not exact words but this is the idea):

Me: I have a great offer from another club this this this and this, I came so you could sign my release and allow me to move forward in my career.
Director: I cannot let you go. First off all it would take weeks to call the board and approve your transfer. Secondly, we talked about this. We started to make a plan. The skis and everything.
M: Yes, the skis in January.
D: Yes, January!
M: .........January has passed...?
D: No no no....we didn't  talk about January 2013, we talked about January 2014!
M: .........................................................................

I froze. I could not believe what I was hearing. After about 10 more minutes I left his office with my tail between my legs. I don't remember what happened in those minutes, mainly because I was trying to remember in detail our conversation from September. After another half hour I finally started to realize what just happened and got angry. So let me get this straight. I am looking for a new club so I could get some support, they promise me something in one year (maybe) and I accept? No. Impossible. Either he thought I was stupid either he lies in his sleep. In reality, I was not ready. Not in my worst nightmares did I even consider he would not let me go, so I had nothing prepared for a eventual refusal. Transfer period passed, next one 15 October - 15 November 2013. So I would have to wait until then, hoping somehow I would manage to get out of this predicament. Amazing. So began a very stressful summer. Fast forward again. Jun-Jul-Aug-Sep-Oct. Qualified for the Olympics. The moment I found out I was qualified it was the best feeling. I was in my room in Brasov. There was nobody else home. When I saw that position 468 I jumped up in celebration running around the house to find somebody to hug. Epic fail. I hugged my friend the pig in the end. Good enough. The celebration did not last long, because at about 5 minutes after I remembered my whole predicament, the offer I lost and the one that shall not be named. I thought to myself: 'Shit. I am qualified. He will never let me go now.' Of course I had the option to go there and actually talk about the new season, the Olympics and how we could start over. No way in hell :). Even if he offered me the triple of what anybody else would, I still would not ski for them. I do not work or operate under bad faith (to put it nicely).

   My salvation in the end was, yet again, Catalin Leonte. Same Catalin Leonte who helped me in the summer providing me with the wax and tools of the trade. He asked me about joining ASC Corona Brasov, club under his leadership. Yes of course....but the transfer. 'Leave that up to us.' I can proudly say that, today, after a whole summer of stress (in no small part because of the club), I am transferred.

   Skiing is a expensive sport. It can go from 5.000 to 50.000 euro a season, depending on your goals, your level, your ambitions, your possibilities. Every little bit helps. Bigger budget, bigger dreams, bigger possibilities. Today was the second biggest step since I resumed my career. Qualifying to the Olympics is the first.

   Thank you Catalin Leonte. Starting today, I am a part of the ASC Corona family. Feeling more confident than ever. One thing left to do.


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