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World Mag > WM Summer 2014 edition > Interview with Marius Opran

Interview with Marius Opran

Becoming part of the Athletics department at AISB
Marius Opran Class of 2009
Marius Opran Class of 2009

WM: Why did you decide to become part of the Athletics department at AISB?


MO: During my time as a student at AISB, my biggest passion was sports (except studying of course ;))! I remember being quite sad upon finishing high school, thinking that I would greatly miss the beautiful gym in which I spentso many hours of my teenage life andthe AISB campus itself. Upon beingcontacted by the athletics director (Mr. Hibbard), who is also a former coach of mine, I was thrilled to hear hewas looking for another coach for the upcoming basketball season. Eager to get back on a basketball court and relive those intense CEESA moments from a new perspective, my conscience wouldn’t let me say no.

WM: What team did you train?

MO: The Junior Varsity Boys Basketball team.

WM: Tell us about a usual practice session.

MO: We began the practice with a warm up consisting of players dribbling a basketball around the court. Following the warm up, the players stretched andthen proceed to work on different drills;some focusing on developing basketball skills, others on physical endurance. Typically, the students also played a game of 5 on 5 to incorporate the skills we worked on in a real game type environment.

To conclude the practice, free throw shooting and a game of 3-point knockoutwas the way to finish, in which I wouldparticipate myself. That’s one way of boosting my retired-player moral... the students calling me ‘Sir’ wasn’t helping.

WM: What are your educational goals with students?


MO: Being part of such great teams over my years at AISB, I discovered that the secret to success was to have great chemistry between players, and a solid relationship between players andtheir coaches. I always encouraged the players to motivate each other on and offthe court, and if they had a problem with one of their team mates to let him know about it in a constructive manner, not by shouting and insulting them because that tends to make matters even worse. Sportsmanship is also something that is under-appreciated by students. After having a bit more experience in life, I now understand how ‘cool’ it is to display sportsmanship, something I didn’t pay much attention to as a player.

One of my goals was to make the students understand the importance of being respectable and having virtuous qualities, emphasizing that these traits go hand in hand with winning and feeling good in general.

WM: Do you feel like you connectdifferently with the students as analumnus? Do you see any advantages?

MO: Definitely. It felt like I was in theirshoes yesterday, so it sort of felt likebeing a student again when I was amongthem. At times, students would get ‘too friendly’ and try to impress me with their humor but that would usually be solved quickly with them doing push-ups. An example would be when a picture of me sleeping on the plane started circling around between them on ‘snap chat’ application I am apparently too old for. However, the connection with thestudents was one of trust and friendship because it was easy for them to relate to me as a person, having attended the same school and having played for the same team they are currently a part of. I know how the whole 'popularity' game works so I was careful to make sure thatall students felt comfortable and wereenjoying themselves. As an alumnus, I could always use the ‘I know how youfeel’ card.

WM: What is the difference between being trained and training?

MO: As a coach, you have to make sure that everyone is involved at practice and you must come with a well-prepared planfor training. If in the middle of practiceyou are scratching your head thinking‘What am I going to do next?’, the kids can quickly get out of control and the practice may quickly turn chaotic (don’t worry, that never happened). Another important factor in coaching is maintaining a good relationship with the players... and given my (sort of)young age, it was key to keep a fine linebetween being too ‘authoritative’ or too‘friendly’. However, I quickly discoveredthat one could combine both traits and get the best of both worlds. The playerslistened to what I said, and enjoyed spending time together on and off the court.


After playing both roles, I now realize that they are not very different from oneanother. Both as a player and as a coach you must be well prepared for practicesand games. I now understand that as acoach you have a lot of responsibilities,which as a player I never paid muchattention to, and that makes me have even greater appreciation for my former coaches!


Both training others and being trainedare fun & learning experiences, whichhelp you grow as a person.


WM: Do you see yourself continuing to be a coach at AISB?


MO: After being a part of this great season in which I saw the kids improve so much and experiencing somenice nostalgia myself when traveling to Prague (I was here in 11th grade for the basketball tournament, first place of course.. shout out to the old Vampires), I don’t see a reason for not continuing my coaching career atAISB. I enjoy working with students and playing the roleof motivational speaker and strategic general in practice and at important games, knowing how important those moments are for them, having been through them myself.

Feeling capable of fulfilling this role and enjoying the responsibility which comes with it, I hope to be a part of future sports seasons at AISB.

WM: Why is it important that students receive not only an academic education but a physical education as well?

MO: Sports provide students with a certain type of education that can not be found in academics. After beingconfined to sitting down for the majority of the eight-hourschool day, sports is where students can channel their physical energy, which is not really solicited in academic education. The type of education that they learn in sports is also vital for their success later in life. Being part of a team encourages cooperation and greatly improves the communication skills of students in a ‘live’ environment. Coaches are there to guide them in the proper ways of resolving possible disputes with teammates, a problem which they will similarly experience at some point later in life but in other areas.

Physical activity also helps in relieving stress, somethinginevitable for every high school and more specifically, every IB student, as we all know. Running, laughing,competing and challenging your physical capabilities are all great ways of disconnecting a bit from the working student life.

Ultimately, there must be a balance between physical and academic education. Too much or too little of either one is not recommended by coach Marius.

WM: How do you see the Alumni Association's involvement in the future?

MO: I hope that there will be more activities in the futurepromoting interaction between alumni and the currentstudents. It’s a great way for them to gain momentum fortheir upcoming tournaments: Playing with old Vampirelegends is a sure way of boosting their confidence.

It’s also fun for us alumni to return to the campus and teamup with our former classmates to take on the younger generation and show them we still got it.

It would also be nice if alumni showed up to cheer the school team when there is a CEESA tournament at AISB. It would be fun for the alumni to hang out together, andwould provide some much needed support for our school teams.

Read the entire WORLD Magazine Summer 2014 edition here.


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