In the world of sports, success cannot be defined solely by a gold medal or performance. Rather, it is the athletes’ endless pursuit of their dreams and the display of their sportsmanship throughout the process that marks their names in history. AmSTRONG Stories - All You Need brings you tales of passion and competition, told through the lens of Hong Kong athletes.
In the first-ever AmSTRONG Stories, we sat down with Fortune Cheng (@fortunechengfc), a volleyball player from SCAA Men Volleyball Team, formerly played for Macau Volleyball Team, to talk about everything related to volleyball and his ups and downs as a Hong Kong volleyball player.
Q: Hello Fortune, can you briefly introduce yourself?
Hello, I am Fortune. I am a personal trainer, a volleyball S&C coach (Strength and Conditioning Coach), a volleyball coach, and a volleyball player.
Q: We know you have been playing volleyball since your secondary school days, what makes you so passionate about this sport?
I first started playing because of a hobby class. Later during Secondary 4 or 5, I started training with a volleyball league. I saw my seniors training and they were really cool, that’s when I got really into volleyball. Also, you could meet a bunch of good teammates, they gradually become your social circle and you would not call it quit so easily because your teammates are also your friends.
Q: As a volleyball player, what do you think are some of the obstacles the Hong Kong players are facing?
There are no professional players in Hong Kong, all the players are amateurs. The first obstacle is the lack of venue, there is no standard volleyball courts here, we have to share the courts provided by the LCSD (康文署) with other different sports such as basketball, and badminton. The second obstacle is time, because everyone is amateurs, most of us play the most during our student days, and we play less and less after we graduate, some even give it up, so most people reach their peak during their university years.
Q: Have you ever thought of giving up on volleyball?
I almost gave it up once. After I graduated, it was tough to manage practice time, because of the job nature as a fitness coach, most people only come to work out after work, but practice took place mostly at night too. That was why I decided to focus more on my career first, giving up on training time. As soon as I had established my career, and my schedule became more flexible, I picked up volleyball again.
Q: Can you share a special moment with volleyball?
There was a time I accidentally smashed into my teammate for a save. His knee hit my rib cage, I was in immense pain and I couldn’t breathe without feeling the pain and had to be sent to hospital. The doctor said it was a rib fracture, there was no cure, the only thing I could do was to stop all the training and let the body rest until it recovered. So, I just had to pivot all my time and effort on coaching, teaching all the fitness and volleyball techniques I know to my students.
Q: What is the most important value you learn from volleyball?
There’s an old-fashion saying back when I was a kid - “Never give up, not when the ball hasn’t touched the floor.” You lose one point whenever the ball falls on the ground, this is the rule of volleyball. That is why every player gives it all they have got to save a point. The same applies in life - never give up when your days are not over yet.
Q: Can you share more on the vision of your fitness gym, Project i?
When I founded Project i (@projecti.fitness), lots of ideas were coming from the perspective of athletes. One of the co-founders is a basketball player, the other one is a football player, and we are all athletes who want to raise awareness of Sports Performance Enhancement. You can tell from the decor and the interior design of our gym, there is a large grass field that helps with specific sports moves such as direction change, final spurt, and leaping etc. We also have a series of different machines, each designed for different specialised training.
Q: Do you have any other hobby?
I like taking pictures and videos, I enjoy doing that lately. I like taking photos of sports moments, like volleyball matches. I think everyone has their own unique vibe and feeling when exercising, I want to capture that through my lens. Taking pictures of landscapes and animals is also fun, it is nice to share my aesthetic perspective with everyone.
Q: Describe your lifestyle in one word.
Perseverance. There is nothing you cannot do if you persevere. Take exercise as an example, if you’re lifting a 2.5kg dumbbell for 10 days, 20 days, 30 days and by the 40th day, you will be able to lift a heavier weight. Do not give up on what you have been chasing just because of a moment of failure.
Q: What is your goals for 2024?
A: I am currently serving for SCAA Division A1, and everyone in the local volleyball community knows that we were demoted to Division A2 a while back. This year we are back at A1 again. I hope that the team spirit within the team could be even stronger and with our unbreakable bonds, hopefully we could enter the final four, joining the post-seasonal match as finalists.
On work, I wish more people could adopt an active lifestyle. We advocate that exercise is not just a tool to make us look better, more importantly we do it for health. Just like my students, I have to keep them in their best shape and condition despite their increasing age while encouraging them to push their own boundaries. This is my goal for the year.
On a more personal level, I would love to create more educational videos about volleyball, like tips and hacks for perfecting your leap and spinning strength. I will be bringing even more content like these this year.
Q: Why do you choose AmSTRONG as your go-to bag?
A: Minimalism and functionality are two things that I look for in a bag. I bring AmSTRONG with me to every single game, because its large capacity holds everything I need eg. volleyball shoes, knee pads, team shirts and jacket. There is a built-in shoes compartment and it is one of my favourite features. When you always have to bring shoes and clothes along, neatness is essential, and AmSTRONG’s organisational compartments is one of their many perks.
There have been many TV shows and movies revolving around the theme of volleyball, and more have taken notice of this sport now. Despite that, Hong Kong volleyball players are still facing many challenges, but there is no doubt in the way Fortune talked or the way he looked, all we could see from his eyes is his unwavering persistence in the sport. Whether as a player or a coach, he hopes to contribute however he could. As he said “Never give up, not when the ball hasn’t touched the floor”, this motto applies not only to sports or athletes, but to everyone in life.
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