Goodbye Edinburgh, Bonjour Amiens

Gavin WattOn the 18th August I left my beloved city of Edinburgh behind and set off for the French city of Amiens with my life in two suitcases. My new home in the north of France is about one and a half hours drive from Paris. Amiens Metropole volleyball club had offered me a professional volleyball contract for the season of 2010/11 in the National 2 division.

My journey to the land of cheese and garlic began last year when Remy Sicsic (a French player) joined City of Edinburgh Volleyball Club in order to improve his English/Scottish. After some months of playing together and finally understanding what he was saying, he told me I should try to play in Europe. My first reaction was a more Scottish interpretation of ‘shut up!’ Finally the Frenchman broke it down by explaining the levels/divisions in France and how the experience would benefit me and my playing. It was something I wanted to do and so Remy helped me try to reach that goal.

Gavin Watt with Amiens Metropol National Division 2Remy translated my volleyball CV and sent it to many clubs in France. After this was done it was just a waiting game for me. In May I got a trial for a team not far from where I am now. The trial was a week of training with them. It was ideal; eating, sleeping and volleyball! This was the life I now wanted. Later in the summer I received the offer that I finally chose to accept. Amiens Metropole volleyball club would have the privilege of having moi for a whole season.

After a stressful journey to France and getting settled into a very ‘French’ home, the time for my first training session arrived. The temperature being considerably higher than in Edinburgh made the session as tough on my washing machine as on my body. The standard was high (like our 2m 10cms off-setter!) and the training was hard. Pre-season training lasted a long six weeks, with friendly tournaments in Amiens, Paris and Rouen. My life as a pro athlete was beginning and I loved it.

Finally I just want to say thank you to Ian Brownlee and Barry McGuigan for coaching me at City for Edinburgh. Also, thanks to Simon Loftus for giving me the chance to play in International tournaments for Scotland and gaining my first cap. Remy gets the biggest thank you for helping me with everything in my move to France.