Derbi Azar - Exclusive Interview with Right Forward
I consider myself lucky to interview Derbi Azar, the right forward of the Lost Desert Yooyuball team. The Desert Scorchio consented to answer my questions after her team’s devastating loss to Meridell, and previous wins over other teams. As one of the few inexperienced players on the team, Derbi is getting a long trained-for taste of the Altador Cup, and the many consequences and benefits of the long, hard competition, and she was happy to share her experience to the public.
I met Derbi at the Landlight Café in Altador, after a harsh and tiring Yooyuball practice before the next game that night, so it was no surprise that she appeared on the scene tired, sweaty, and ten minutes late. After declining an offer for coffee, settling for an iced water, we got down to brass tacks. I opened up the interview by asking about her team’s loss to Meridell a few nights previously.
“It was hard,” admits Azar. “I just remember scoring goal after goal, and then the scream of the crowds, and after all that, I just remember Luvea gripping my shoulder and shaking me, and telling me over and over, ‘It wasn’t your fault!’ I think I knew before I realized that we’d lost, that it was useless to keep running.”
Me: “What about your previous scores? A series of wins, as far as I can tell. What have you done to contribute to that?”
Azar: “I felt more or less like a third wheel during the first of those wins. At first it was all Luvea, Vonde, and Lamelle. I really had no experience on the field. Over the last few years, I hung back in the paintwork, never really scoring a goal, never really opening up to the game. I just steal the ball away from offensive players and pass it to our offensive. I was even referred to as the Double Goalie. Then I remember intercepting Elon Hughlis, and stealing the ball away from him when he was heading toward our goal. Suddenly I saw an opening, and scored from across the field. It was just one of those moments, and I’ve cooperated much, much more since, and my goals count, and I finally realized my skill in scoring. We’ve been winning by farther then we did when I didn’t do anything at all.”
Me: “What about your relationship to the rest of your team? How has it affected the way you play?”
Azar: “Luvea and I are really good friends. Over the past few days, we’ve learned to trust each other to our own skills, so we’ve been playing better than ever. Lamelle keeps us motivated. He jokes around and makes the Altador Cup seem like a big joke, and we can get through it with amazing scores if we just keep laughing. He’s so silly and loose; it makes us feel like an energized, powerful team, even if we’re bone tired. And Vonde likes to be pessimistic. He’s hard to like at times, but seriously, he keeps us being realistic. You get used to him, and without him, we’d never be the team we are.”
Me: “I noticed you didn’t say anything about Captain Leera. What do you think about her?”
Azar: “I don’t know. It seems to me like mostly, Luvea’s our captain. She’s the one organizing our practices; she’s the one perfecting our techniques. Captain just stays to herself. We keep the ball away from her end of the field, she keeps the ball away from our goal, we keep each other happy, and we’re considerate, and that’s the extent of our relationship. If we have a problem with something, we talk it out, but we don’t get all personal about it. This is, to Captain, a business relationship and only a bit of a personal thing involved.”
Me: “Do you think this is fair? If she isn’t working hard to keep her team up to speed, should she still be up there, as captain?”
Azar: “She should stay there. We’ve never had a better goalie, and we’ve never had a stronger offense on the opposing side. She’s the one putting in all the fire on the field; she is working hard. Even if we’re not especially communicative, the love of the Cup binds us together. And we keep each other up to speed and nothing’s off.”
Me: “What about the fame issues you may have? Are there any problems with paparazzi and overexcited fans?”
Azar: “Well, actually, yes. Some people’s Neoblogs have been flouting photos of us at practices, and I did not even see the people taking them. Captain’s been requesting to get them taken down. Some of those snapshots are quite embarrassing; I can’t wait until they’re gone. It’s also been strange that whenever I need to get something from a store or I need to go to Coltzan’s Shrine if I’m compelled to ask for a blessing for our next game, I create mobs trying to get my autograph. It’s so embarrassing, and I try to make a quick escape. It’s all part of the fame, I know, so I don’t let it bother me, even though it’s slightly disturbing.”
Me: “What’s your hometown? Somewhere in the Lost Desert, I presume?”
Azar: “I live in Qasala. It’s so populated and great, and I grew up dodging carts and running through the streets.”
Me: “When did you first hear of the Altador Cup?”
Azar: “I heard of it a LONG time before I actually was given a place on my team. Losses are devastating and I just want to bring home the cup for the Lost Desert.”
Me: “Any last comments?”
Azar: “No, I don’t think so. Just that I love the Lost Desert, and expect us back with the Altador Cup!!!”
On that ambitious note, I end the first of my interviews with a rising star in the ranks of the athletes in the Altador Cup. For those of you rooting for the Lost Desert as the champion this year, here is a champion who will hopefully help you and all the others achieve that dream. Happy viewing, and may the odds be in favor of your team!