THE UNEDITED VERSION:
If you ever spot Anett Farkas on campus out of her lazy sweatpants and VCU Volleyball labeled long-sleeve shirt, make sure you tell her you love her outfit. Because she does.
Asking her how she handles her stardom and if a lot of students lose their cool when she walks into a classroom, she laughed, “Nobody even on campus knows there’s a volleyball team here, I swear. Usually I try to dress up when I go to class and other athlete people don’t recognize me. Some people will walk right past me because I have regular clothes on.”
No wonder the Fashion Merchandising major took light of my sincere confession of being star-struck in the beginning of the interview.
Carrying a 6’2” frame and a delicate smile, one would assume that she attracts heavy attention – but the humble senior doesn’t get distracted easily and has set her priorities ruler straight, to pursue her dream with the degree she’ll attain in the spring. After being on the winning side of the net and lighting up the volleyball scene for thirteen consecutive years, she will start anew and try to gain work experience with another passion of hers, fashion.
“Even though I love the game, playing pro would mean eating, sleeping, and practicing – and doing that twice a day?” she grinned, “I’m trying to stay in the states and work.”
I suggested that she sign a nice contract, hit-and-run a professional team in Europe and then settle back in the States – but her firm grip on her future did not loosen up, as she does when she spikes the ball over the net. The fat paycheck she could potentially reel in genuinely doesn’t matter or stir up any interest.
Apparently volleyball wasn’t her first sport. Farkas tried figure skating when she was four-years-old.
“I thought it was my dream,” she laughs, “when I was in kindergarten I would remember going to practice before kindergarten, seeing the sun come up, ice in the morning, ballet in the afternoon.”
Her mother stopped taking her due to her crying — because of the ridiculous hours she had to wake up for practice. She says it’s fine, after all, acknowledging that her taller stature is not ideal for the sport anyway. Farkas roller-skates for fun now.
The greatest moment of Anett Farkas’ career started in a small box we call a television. Imagine her eight-year-old eyes, glued to the TV, studying the moves of a Japanese manga series character. Kozue Ayuhara. The Japanese children’s show, Attack No. 1, was retitled “Mila Superstar”.
“She hit it so hard it would disappear,” Anett recalled, “I wouldn’t leave my dad alone until he found a place for me to play volleyball.”
And this brought us to the most revealing tidbit that I gained from listening to the Degree Sports Invitational tournament MVP Anett Farkas.
The club team that her father found for his beloved daughter nearby their home featured a three-time Olympic Coach, Dr. Attilane Kotsis. If not by chance, or by luck, or by coincidence, that Farkas just happened to reside in the general area at the same exact time that a Hall of Fame Coach would take Anett under her wing, mentor her for the next eight years, you could bet that a predestined path for the star’s future started on the roads of Budapest, Hungary. Gabi neni, a title Farkas referred to the teacher as, professed that a great volleyball player must be good everywhere on the court. Taking the advice to heart and hanging the wisdom of her mentor around her neck, the outside hitter was once another position, the ‘middle’. The coach assured her that she was a smart player, but not a powerful one. Dr. Attilane even had a hand in Anett’s long-term goals, as Farkas wanted to play college ball and study English in the UK. Attilane redirected her player and connected her with a fellow Hungarian coach overseas in New Orleans. The transitioning was smooth, SATs and all for the special member of the Hungarian Junior National Team. All the opportunities intricately designed for the star we have at VCU today could have been disregarded as false hope, but Anett followed through.
After a brief stint at New Orleans, the school would undergo budget cuts and was informed that the women’s volleyball squad would drop from a Division I to a Division III school. Anett took action and decided by transferring to VCU would satisfy her best interests.
“First of all, as a young woman, Anett is a very mature, focused individual,” coach Finley said of Farkas after practice, “…you know you can count on Anett. She’s always willing to learn…is very coachable.”
Head Coach James Finley said that he’s proud of the teammates voting her as one of the captains, and is happy that all her work ethic is paying off. The adjustment that she’s made in the last couple years at VCU, playing two different positions successfully is another accomplishment that boosts the coach’s confidence in her on the court. He supports her decision to pursue her passion of fashion after her final season.
Off the court, Anett studies hard to maintain a high GPA, a GPA I did not ask for permission to mention in this article, but here’s a hint: she’s only received one “B” so far. Keeping up-to-date with fashion trends and following the hectic days of the Fashion Week at VCU, you could find the star hiding in a small Black Sheep restaurant off West Marshall Street with her friends.
Farkas fluently speaks Hungarian, German, and English and knows a bit of French. If you catch her with her earplugs in, she’s bobbing her head to hip-hop music, to the likes of Drake, Jay-Z and Kanye West.
“I’m just going with the flow,” she says. I nickname her the HOP. The Hungarian Optimus Prime. Her all-around versatility allows her to take care of business in the air and be a tremendous force on the ground. She likes the moniker. The Transformer reference makes sense, as she’ll receive her first driver’s license this fall.
Her favorite movie though? Intouchables, a French comedy based on a true story, about a paralyzed man lying in bed all day and a caretaker assumed by others to carry a terrible attitude. I don’t see how this is funny, but it makes her laugh. I chuckle. We end the chat on a light note, just how it started.
I treat my chance to sit down with the lovely Anett Farkas as my last, because it might just be the last opportunity to do so before we both graduate next semester. For the time being, she wishes for students to watch and support the women’s volleyball team games as they start the regular season this weekend.