Ania, Kasia, Beata and Piotr, with a long and passionate way in volleyball volunteering
Lodz, Poland, September 15, 2014 – Among the almost 1,000 volunteers who performed duties at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, there’s a special group of people in Lodz who have seen almost every volleyball game held at the Atlas Arena since it opened in 2009.
Ania, Kasia, Beata and Piotr have got together again for this historic opportunity to see the World Championship at home. But why did they decide to engage in volunteering in the first place?
“In 2009, I decided I would like to see how big sport events are organised, try my language skills and meet new people,” says Piotr.
For Beata, it was similar: “My first time as a volunteer in Lodz was during EuroBasket 2009 and it was such an awesome experience that I decided to continue at the Volleyball European Championship a week later.”
For twin sisters Ania and Kasia, the road is longer, going back well before the opening of Atlas Arena. They have now been volunteering for 12 years.
“In 2001, we went round the venue where our team played and we were asked by the Polish Volleyball Federation President if we would like to help them decorate the venue,” they recall. “Probably there was no such thing as organised volunteering back then, but in the next years we followed the team and helped with decorations, press office duties and accreditations. We just love volleyball and our national team – the atmosphere during their matches is incredible. Each year we’re looking forward to the volleyball season.”
For them, volleyball is such a huge passion that they didn’t miss any matches in Lodz over those years. But there’s much more in this, as Piotr states: “During every event, you live unforgettable moments. For me it’s not only about the sport, which of course I really love, but this is mainly about the people.”
And of course, after all these years together they have become good friends. “We come to the venue to meet with these people, spend some time together and have lots of fun. Enjoying this as a volunteer is a totally different thing from going to a match with a ticket. We are actually part of this event,” explains Ania.
Even though the FIVB World Championship was officially opened in Warsaw on August 30, the volunteers and all of Lodz had to wait another 10 days to start their work.
“I was waiting for this tournament for so long,” Ania admits. “It’s a big honour for us to be a part of it. And if our team wins the gold medal, we’ll have made a contribution to a historic moment.”
As for Beata, memories are not only about the host team: “We get the chance to work with great players. I had to interview my favourite player – Aleksandar Atanasijevic – in the Mixed Zone. It was simply an incredible moment.”
Piotr adds: “This Championship is unique, as it is the first and probably the only chance for us to take part in an event of this magnitude here in Poland. And the big advantage for us is that Team Poland has been assigned here in Lodz.”
Written by Martyna Szydlowska and Anna Slowinska, Young Writer Programme