Unfortunately, it wasn’t love at first sight for former CSB Lady Blazer Thea Africa and the sport of volleyball.
It was actually in the sport of swimming where she found her first love, as it was just one of the many sports and activities that she tried out when she was younger, to the coaxing of her parents. “Yung father ko kasi, gusto niya lahat masubukan namin,” she smiles as she rues upon her childhood, where there were little idle hours and lots of engagement in sports and other rigorous physical activities.
She had already begun bagging medals in swimming, but a twist of fate during their school’s Intramurals when she was in Grade Six found Thea being fielded in the volleyball team, mostly because of her height which was uncommon to children of her age. And it was here that she first experienced the joys of playing the sport that she eventually fell in love with. “Naging maganda yung turn-out ng Intrams namin and nag-enjoy akong mag-Volleyball,” she recalls.
However, since she was already immersed in swimming, it took some time before Thea can formally leave the waters of the swimming pool in favor of the volleyball court. Finally, when she reached her second year in High School, she formally started playing Volleyball, where her height was an immediate asset. And it was also in High School where she met her Volleyball Coach, Edwin Leyva, who will be instrumental in landing her a spot in the CSB Lady Blazers squad.
“Yun siguro ang biggest factor kung bakit sa CSB ako naglaro, because my high school volleyball coach is also mg coach in CSB,” she says. Another factor which led to her decision to play for the Lady Blazers is the fact that she loved her undergraduate course that she took and eventually finished. “Gusto ko yung course ko, which is Consular Diplomatic Affairs, kasi kakaiba siya,” she states.
Anxiety was an all-too familiar feeling for Thea when she first donned the Green and White jersey of the Lady Blazers, especially since her coach knew her since she was a high school volleyball prospect. But as she continued suiting up for the Lady Blazers and absorbed all the experience, she relished her role from being a doe-eyed rookie into a seasoned veteran whom the team eventually counted on.
The 87th Season of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was when she played for her final year and rounded out her tour of duty, and she, as a steady veteran presence, guided the squad to a 3-6 win-loss record for the tournament.
And after playing for the Lady Blazers and rounding out her tour of duty as a voleybelle, she states that she will miss several things about playing volleyball and being a part of the Lady Blazers. “Of course, the everyday training that I have with my teammates and also the events that we have in school and the get-together that we have with athletes from other sports.”
Thea also bared the fact that had she not been fielded as a volleyball player on that fateful day in their school’s Intramurals, she will most probably wind up as a Softball player, as it was also one of the sports which she had enjoyed playing before Volleyball came along. “Meron nga akong friend na members ng Softball team, and pinapasok na talaga nila ako sa team bago ko pa nadiscover ang Volleyball,” she states about nearly suiting up as a Softball player.
Fortunately, Volleyball came along, and the rest, as that clichéd adage goes, is history.
Aside from playing Volleyball, Thea also enjoys reading, specifically books which are self-help and uplifting in nature, with Mitch Albom being cited as a favorite author. She also enjoys her free time by indulging in several television series which she likes, such as Lost, although she laments the fact that it had already ended. And in its place, she instead watches Grey’s Anatomy and The Vampire Diaries. And when it comes to music, Thea states that it is the crooning of Frank Sinatra as well as famous songs from the 1950s that she loves to hear.
And as for her future plans, Thea plans to look no further than her alma mater’s Taft neighbor and sister school, De La Salle University, where she plans to take her Master’s Degree.
And when asked on whether or not she is willing to enter the world of Modeling or maybe even Show Business, she states that she is open to such opportunities since it had already happened to her in the past, and she will readily accept any offers that come her way.
Volleyball may not have the first love for Thea Africa, as she had enjoyed so many other athletic events in her childhood, but when she found out about the joys of playing on the volleyball court, she found it hard to resist.
And as she leaves the halls of the school for which she had played for several years, she has nothing else to say but gratitude to the school which she called as her second home in her stint as a member of the CSB Lady Blazers.