The amazing story of Wayan the volleyball player
April 15, 2015
It must have been in 2008, about the third time that I was on Bali, when I met Wayan. At that time he was working for a company providing taxi services on Bali. He was recommended to me, as I was looking for someone who could bring me to the fine spots of Bali, without being afraid that he would take me to the places where he could earn a little bit extra for bringing a tourist there.
Wayan proved to be a very reliable driver, carefully moving around in the hectic traffic of Bali in the more well-known touristic hotspots. So I became a regular customer for him, as there was a lot I wanted to see.
One day when driving through the lush green countryside of Bali the conversation turned to other things. "Wayan, do you do some sport, like badminton?" Like most foreigners I know that Indonesian people excel in this sport.
Wayan told me he liked to play a little bit of volleyball. I had already noticed that he was longer than me, which doesn't happen too often in Bali. "Oh, I see. Is that for fun, or do you play in some sort of competition?" "No pak (meaning sir), I play a little bit of competition."
Being a fan of a lot of sports, I thought that it might be nice to see a volleyball match in Bali. "Is it possible for me to see you playing?", I asked. He laughed a bit embarrassed and said "A no pak, that is not so interesting". After pressing him a bit, he told me he would play a match on the evening before I would return to Europe. I decided that it would be a pain as I had to get up around 4 AM on the morning after the match, but there would be enough time to sleep on the plane, so yes, I would like to attend his little volleyball match.
On the evening of the match we drove in the dark to the place where he would play. Because of the twisting roads I didn't have the faintest idea where we went in the dark. We arrived in a town, where there appeared to be some kind of a small volleyball stadium in the open, with a lot of lights illuminating the pitch black gravel court. There were crowds of Balinese people in the streets. After getting out of the car, we walked up to this stadium. A lot of people approached Wayan and wanted to shake his hand. And by that time I knew that this modest guy hadn't told me the whole story...
It appeared he was one of the players of the Bali volleyball team and as such some kind of a local hero.
And did I have the time of my life that night. I went in with the players and was not allowed to pay the regular entrance fee. During the match I was asked to sit on the bench with the team. I am pretty sure that I was the only non-Bali person in the whole small stadium, where hundreds of people enjoyed an unbelievably spectacular match of two high ranking teams in the top division of Bali. Being very different from western style volleyball, it was very much an attacking game, top entertainment. And the players were like made out of rubber, the way they jumped.
Looking at the photos: guess who won the match?
It appears that volleyball is an extremely popular sport in Bali, which you will not read in any touristic magazine. If you go to Bali and are a sports fan, I can recommend going there, as it really is great fun. And the way the commentator shouts his encouragements during the game over the loudspeakers...
Not playing in the Bali team anymore and only doing some recreational volleyball with his friends, we are still close in touch with Wayan. And he is still the dependable, modest and very able driver.
Now, you guess who is going to pick you up when you rent one of our villas? You're right, that's when you will meet Wayan. And who, if needed, can help you with a sightseeing tour. We can vouch for his dependability.
So what is your opinion of Wayan the volleyball player: Like or Share?