Calicut Heroes captain Matt Hilling is loving the atmosphere and the fans in Prime Volleyball League in India. The USA Volleyball athlete has been playing the sport for over 8 years around the globe. In his conversation with a Zeenews journalist, he shared his views on India’s volleyball future and the ongoing Prime Volleyball League in the country. Hillings has experience playing in different countries like the Netherlands, Brazil, Portugal, Sweden, Austria, Germany, China, and Israel. He was part of the national camp for four years but has only played one game for the USA so far.
Below is a conversation with Matt Hillings on Indian volleyball fans, his story, the future of Indian volleyball, and why he loves the sport.
1) One thing you liked about India and its volleyball fans?
My favorite thing about India is for sure the food. So, I was super excited to come here and get the real experience. And the volleyball fans here are amazing, for sure, the best country I’ve ever played in regarding the fans. The atmosphere of the games is unreal, you can just feel the vibrations coming from the stands.
2) What’s your ultimate dream as a volleyball professional?
My dream as a volleyball player was just to experience the world and have a job you know would let me travel and experience different cultures And I’ve been so lucky to play and I think nine countries now, So yeah, just the ultimate dream is traveling around the world and getting paid to do it.
3) Every athlete sacrifices a lot to become a professional in the sport, what’s your story?
Yes, for sure. Every athlete sacrifices a ton, um, to master a sport, it takes so much time. I was so lucky to have great coaches and to grow up in an area in California where volleyball is a very popular sport, um, you know, and I knew, you know, from the moment I started that I wanted to play volleyball for the rest of my life and then maybe about 15,16, I realized that you know, I could be a professional volleyball player and it could be my job. And that’s been the goal for me ever since.
4) Your views on the Indian volleyball team
The passion here for Indian volleyball is amazing, and the athletes are some of the best I’ve seen in the entire world. So, I think that this league, it’s a good opportunity for Indian volleyball, I think every year it’s improving. And, I hope that you know, they, they will continue to take these, these steps to move volleyball in the right direction.
5) The sport volleyball is not the most famous so how do you think it can get better in terms of fan following etc?
Yeah, volleyball it’s not the most famous sport but people love volleyball. All my friends in the US. I don’t know anything about volleyball. I’ll show them know high-level match from you know an Italian league or a polish league and they’re pretty enthralled by it. You know they’ve never seen anything like it. You know when people think of volleyball you really just think of you know a barbeque or a picnic, you know people underhanding the ball but when they see you know the best athletes in the world hitting the ball, you know 130 plus kilometers an hour. They get very intrigued. So, I think just social media is our best tool.
Just get volleyball on social media so the whole world can see it because people will like it if they see the highest level. The problem right now is that it’s just not uh you don’t see the highest level everywhere. You have to go and search for videos of volleyball. It’s not just in your Instagram feed like basketball or soccer or cricket. So I think just flooding Instagram, flooding Facebook. All the social media just get as much content with volleyball onto that as we can.