35 matches, 133 sets. That’s how much time 39-year-old Kim Hae-ran (Heungkuk Life) spent on the court last season. She played five more matches than she did in 2017-18 (30), and it was the first time she played more than 120 sets. After juggling childbirth, parenting, and a knee injury, the veteran had a stellar season, leading her team to the regular-season title with strong individual performances, including second in digs (5.609 per set) and second in defense (7.797 per set).
However, Kim was not satisfied. The team failed to win the overall title. After winning the regular season title, Heungkuk Life was swept by Korea Expressway Corporation in the championship match. While the rest of the team was shedding tears of disappointment, Kim Hae-ran was also in tears. “I could only cry because the end was so disappointing,” said Kim Hae-ran, “I feel like I had a nightmare. It’s a season I don’t want to think about,” she said, reflecting on the past season.
With the disappointment behind her, Kim Hae-ran is preparing for the new season. In an interview with the club, Kim Hae-ran scolded himself, saying, “I think I need to be a little more nervous after finishing as runner-up last season, and I need to prepare better for the new season.” He added, “Coach Abondanza is taking special care of my physical fitness. Last year, I was in good shape, but I was disappointed at the end. This season, I want to take better care of my body than last year and have a good season,” he said.
Kim Hae-ran is currently in Japan, the training ground of Heungkuk Life. Heungkuk Life is holding a training camp in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, from April 14 to 20. It’s the first overseas training camp in five years since COVID-19. “It’s been a long time since I’ve traveled abroad, so I feel good, but I’m also nervous because I have to train,” said Kim Hae-ran.
However, her situation is different from five years ago. He now has a son waiting for him at home. “It’s sad to be away from my son for a week and I miss him,” he said, “but it’s okay because it’s the first time in a long time that I’ve been away from my mom for this long, so I know how important she is.”
After announcing her retirement in April 2020, Kim returned to the court at the start of the 2021-22 season after giving birth to her son in December of that year. She took a year off to give birth and raise her son. Even after that, Hae-ran was busy juggling training, competition, and parenting. “When I’m done playing, I have to take care of my baby. I also feel sorry that I don’t have much time for my baby. After practice, I always try to rush home as soon as possible,” she said.
The path of a mom athlete is difficult. Many athletes consider retiring from sports to raise children. “I haven’t had a deep conversation with them yet,” she said, “but for those who are thinking about quitting (to raise a family), I’d like to tell them that this life is really good. I’m really happy and good, but I wish they would think about it a little more deeply.”바카라
However, Kim is living each day fiercely and eagerly. “I always have the mindset that it’s my last, so every day is precious. I try to do my best every day because this day will never come again,” he said. Kim Hae-ran said, “Last season ended badly, so this year I’m aiming to win the overall title. My goal is to play all the matches with the juniors without getting sick,” she said, reinforcing her determination for the new season.