Waterpolo’s middle class

Greetings to all, and welcome to yet another one of my waterpolo recitations. By nature, I never really wanted to do these waterpolo recitations. I have always valued training more than speaking, but certain circumstances have almost forced me to do what I’m doing now, and it doesn’t make sense to stop, at least not as long as I’m active as an athlete in the pool. After my active career, I’ll see what and how I’ll proceed. There were times when I wanted to quit with this what you are reading now, but then it seemed as if everything I had written up to that point would somehow come crashing down on me. Have you ever had that feeling? That feeling that everything you’ve done up to a certain moment will come back to haunt you if you don’t see it through to the end. And that means that for the time being the whole waterpolo community can enjoy having me around. Besides, it looks good on my CV when I’m looking for a job. So, let’s continue with the article.

Today, everything is branding this, brand that. Where does the individual end, and the brand begin? I have no idea. I mean, I can distinguish it on an emotional level within myself, but it’s hard to put it into words or text. By coincidence a couple of years ago I wrote my initial anonymous articles for this internet waterpolo page and then I realized just how underdeveloped waterpolo is in terms of media and marketing. I immediately realized that developing my own brand situation would be absolutely no problem. Since I had no competition in any form, I could choose which niche I wanted to develop for myself. However, the lack of competition also means a lack of media infrastructure, media literacy, and understanding of how the media works. So there was a good chance that people within waterpolo community wouldn’t understand anything I was trying to preach, which would counteract what I actually wanted to achieve. So, I wasted a lot of time making some beginner mistakes, writing articles, and saying things that I might not write today, but what’s done is done. Those articles will eventually be part of a bigger picture and a larger story. The important thing is to continue as I know and can.

After some time of writing articles with my name own name under them, I decided to start conducting interviews. It may seem like a small move, but there was a lot of thought behind that decision. Previously, I was fighting for some sort of attention and proof of my existence, but now I’m the one who can bring attention to others and prove their existence. The people I interview will gladly share it on their social media, so even more people will know about me in the process, at least within the waterpolo community. And if you ask yourself what’s the point of all this attention seeking besides work experience on my CV? Money.

Perhaps, due to the type of articles I write, my brand sometimes exudes elements of waterpolo activism, which is partly true, but I don’t shy away from the fact that at the end of the day, I also want to earn some money. Activism is an element and a term that I avoided for a long time because I always perceived it as a sneaky and slippery way for someone to put themselves in a position of pretending to be a high-moral person who is interested in ideology rather than finances. And then, when that “activist” somehow manages to get into a certain position, they usually become the very same amoral individual they were fighting against initially. An individual solely focused on money and their own interests. However, I’ve slightly changed my opinion about that term. Now, for me, activism means giving back to my community. It represents an awareness of my waterpolo community, knowing that someone was there before me, and someone will come after me. It means recognizing that nobody is bigger than their sport. Giving back to one’s community should never stop because, in the end, when we benefit our community, we benefit ourselves. Through my interviews, I found a way to give back, in my own small way, to my community. Although realistically, from each interview, I gain something in return as well.

When I started doing interviews, there were many ups and downs. After publishing a few interviews, I thought I could message anyone and there’s no chance anyone would reject me, let alone not respond. But then, I realized it wasn’t that simple. Calling them “ups and downs” might be an oversimplification. Even if things don’t turn out exactly as I imagined, that feeling of collapse from the beginning of this article pushes me to always try and learn something from different experiences and move forward. The goal of each interview is to reach as many readers as possible, but relying solely on the interviewee’s answers to bring readership is too risky. So, I’ve come to see that, when writing interviews, there are only two things I can rely on: my brand and my questions. When I say “my brand,” I mean the first thing people think of in the first millisecond when they see my name. In one of my older articles I’ve already talked about the so-called “Bujas Atom,” but I’ll mention it again. Just like the painter Salvador Dali believed that for the correct interpretation of his paintings, the person experiencing his artwork must know that he painted it and must know who he is as a person. According to Salvador Dali, a person looking at his artwork would see a completely different image if they thought someone else had painted it and not him. His public appearances were deliberate and meticulously planned, from his dress style to the mustache that had to go upwards because, for him, an upward mustache represented a form of vitality and a positive outlook on life. So, I approached my interviews and my brand in a similar way. I don’t know what answers someone is going to give me and I don’t want to put words in their mouth just to make the interview more interesting, but at the same time, I wanted to build that impression and idea of what one can expect from “Bujas interviews.” I wrote many articles with the intention of creating that “Bujas Atom.”

Regardless of the answers given within the interview, people will know that the questions will be atypical and interesting, yet not overshadowing the person being interviewed. Another essential element is that the questions shouldn’t be sensational or cheaply provocative. The goal of the interview is to give someone else the stage and the opportunity to tell their story and nothing more. Lately, I’ve taken a break from interviews, and I’ll probably return to them at some point, but in all these so-called ups and downs, I discovered a niche within water polo that has always existed but was overshadowed.

Waterpolo’s middle class. You could say that by discovering my niche I have discovered who I am. Those water polo players, coaches, and waterpolo operators who aren’t national team representatives or from recognized waterpolo nations, but are still good enough or motivated enough to make a living from waterpolo, or dedicate a part of their lives to it. These people, for whom water polo is either the only part, or one of the parts, of their financial life, are the lifeblood and pulse of our waterpolo world. They are the unknown and unnamed miners trapped within the shaft and the depths of our small sport. Always in the shadows, always without praise and recognition for all the work and effort they put into our sport and our community. When you think about it, you realize that these people are the most critical element in our waterpolo, yet they receive the least media exposure, whether from mainstream media or waterpolo-specific outlets. For whatever reasons, by chance or by conscious choice, these people are devoted to waterpolo. These people have dedicated a part of their life to this sport. And I decided to build my brand and my niche around them.

Lastly, let’s not forget that in this earthly life, we are all losers, and only some of us have the privilege of being celebrated by other losers as someone better than us losers. The middle class is destined to accept the reality that they can never be winners, and we must never forget that the so-called winners are merely the best among the losers. I’m just another loser trying my best to secure a better life while never forgetting the community I come from. That’s my niche. Or maybe a better wording would be; I am my niche. Take care, and until the next article or interview. My name is Tomo Bujas and goodbye.