Life Beyond Tennis

Being a Refugee in junior tennis: 10 things to hate, 5 things to love (Part 2)

If Rocky did this, we can do it too

In the previous article I wrote about difficulties and hurdles of being a refugee in a junior competitive tennis. Not everything is so sad though – there are some positive moments as well. Read about them in today’s blog post.

5 things to love

1. Best team building you can ever dream.  When you remain (almost) alone against the whole world, you try people around you. A player, a coach, a family… Friends, partners, federation, clubs and even neighbors are better tested when you are in trouble.

This is not qute specific for refugees – it applies commonly for people in their worst periods of life. But refugees are mole vulnerable, as they usually have less, if any, public options to overcome the difficulties.

When we got in trouble, most people forgot about us, or declined to help. I can understand them… but not forgive. Money will come back at one moment, but relationships won’t.

At the same time people who stay with us during bad times, will probably stay for a long, long good times in future. This is more than cooperation, and even more than friendship. It is like building a new family of people united around one joint tennis goal – to raise a refugee player.

2. Learning to live without a state. As the most of things you get from your asylum country are “pain and hurt”, you start learning how to live without a state, in a kind of a parallel world. Sometimes it is really difficult; but I believe that, if managed properly, this “stateless” life – somewhen in future – may be more attractive than regular one.

Sashka is on fitness practice; empty beach instead of modern gym

Sashka is on fitness practice; empty beach instead of modern gym

3. Good health. For 5+ years of being refugees nobody of us experienced a serious illness; we simply can’t afford it! I believe that this is a kind of body self-regulation: if you do not have (I mean REALLY don’t) means for medical treatment, your body just managed to avoid most of threats.

4. You definitely become a champion of cost-saving.

Do you remember Rocky Balboa’s practices – first on Philadelphia streets, then somewhere in Siberia? It is all checked now by us. An empty beach can replace a modern gym, and an old good bicycle can be used instead of cardio training machines. If you want to run – go to the street and run!

Will it work for the competitive sportsperson? I believe so. We will see this in the nearest future. At least, it worked for Rocky Balboa.

You also can discover a lot of ways to save during tournament travels. My favorite example is the following: a portable multi-cooker + nearest supermarket can save you hundreds of euros usually spent for meal. Furthermore, you will all the way control what your player’s eating.

5. Belief. This is the most important thing. A moment comes when you stop believing in your player, and you want to quit, just to quit and forget about tennis.  If you overcome that moment – your belief will be as solid as granite.

I think I managed to do this.

I know that one day all tennis media of the world will write about Sashka Oliynykova, the world’s most successful refugee tennis player. Millions of refugees in the world will find a hope in this story.

I believe… and work hard to do my part of a job, as well as my player does.

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