A Spooky New Goal Scorer: Interview with Krell Vitor
Two weeks have passed since the start of arguably the most important event of the year in Neopia. The air is filled with excitement, anticipation... and the joyful screaming of devoted fans from all over Neopia who are cheering for one (or more, in some cases) of the eighteen teams that are competing this year to win the Altador Cup and take the big prize back to their homeland.
Regardless of the land they're representing, all these athletes are worthy of glory and respect. Not only are they very dedicated to (and passionate about) their profession, they're always willing to make some room in their days to talk for a few minutes with us reporters or fans, even with their busy schedules this month. This time, we managed to squeeze in a small minutes-long interview with Haunted Woods team captain Krell Vitor. Let's keep in mind that this team won the coveted gold trophy on the very first Altador Cup and also came out victorious on its ninth edition, becoming the first team to ever win the tournament on more than one occasion, but, surprisingly, they haven't been this close to the podium in a really long time, dropping to the lowest places on each yearly attempt. Last year, they were among the last teams, besting only team Moltara and ending seventeenth. Will things turn around for them this time, giving the scariest players in this competition the chance to earn themselves a gold medal each, or will history keep repeating itself? For now, one can only speculate.
Without further ado, here's the conversation we had with him.
Reporter: Hello Krell, thank you in advance for your time, you must be very busy these days so we at the Neopian Times really appreciate this. Surely Haunted Woods fans will, too!
Krell: No problem, I love giving back to the fans every chance I get; they support us through thick and thin so the least any of us can do is dedicate a few words to them in interviews like this.
R: Okay, so, let's start off with an obvious question: how do you feel about the tournament this year?
K: Well... we had a rough start, our first match was against our old rivals from Darigan Citadel and they had a few tricks up their sleeves that helped them win. Hopefully, it isn't the only time me and Layton Vickles will see each other face-to-face this year and we'll get a second match to have another chance against them. As for the other days... We had some ups and downs these first weeks, but we try not to focus on our losses so we don't get discouraged. We're representing our homeland after all, so we have to do our best not to let them down. It's no shame to lose against any other team anyway, because all these players from different lands trained a lot, just like us, and they're just as worthy of winning as us.
R: Good, now what are your thoughts on your team's performance so far?
K: We're all definitely doing our best on each opportunity. The boys and I are trying a new strategy this time around and while it wasn't easy at the start, I think that we're getting better with each match. When you're facing so many skilled and stubborn rivals, you gotta be at your 100% each day to win, and that's not always easy. That's when they take the chance to come out victorious.
R: We couldn't help but notice that you're replacing Zo Junior as the goal scorer in this opportunity. Haunties were quite surprised to see this!
K: That was actually our coach's idea. With how our team has been doing these years since we last were first, he thought that we had to try something new this time, something different to help us break this winner curse that seems to be upon us. We've been training secretly with me as the scorer during the off-season to surprise both the other teams and the fans. Needless to say, it worked.
R: Speaking of the fans, do you know what their reaction was to this news?
K: I've heard that there were some mixed feelings among them, but they were mostly positive.
R: Indeed they were. Some hardcore Zo fans didn't take it so happily at first, but after seeing your performance, they accepted the change. Others, fans of yours, rejoiced instead.
K: Thanks, I'm glad that we didn't upset anyone too much with this.
R: What was Zo's opinion on this change?
K: He was shocked at first, and I can't blame him. Imagine being the team's top scorer for so many years, and suddenly being told to change! Our coach's decision was a big surprise to all of us. Even Fanetti felt uneasy and questioned it at first, and I wasn't sure about being able to fulfill Zo's role the way he does, but practice made it work out for everyone in the end. After some talks with the coach, Zo accepted it and we started working together to make sure things could run smoothly. He genuinely doesn't mind the change now, especially if it helps us get a better chance at winning the Cup. That was great news to me, personally; the last thing I'd want is upsetting a dear friend of so many years!
R: And how are you, Krell Vitor, adapting to this position?
K: It wasn't so easy at first, you know? I'm used to being a defender, I have been for years, and taking a more offensive role truly is a challenge. It was almost like trying to put Fanetti away from the net, on the field! But with my team's help, especially Zo's, the coach's instructions, several hours of practice and no small amount of patience from each of us, I think I've managed to adapt pretty well.
R: No doubt about it, you were among the top 10 goal scorers on the first day.
K: Heh, that's great news!
R: Do you have any other secret strategies you're trying this year?
K: Haha, well, I don't think I can talk about that right now, you'll understand why.
R: You're right. Some years ago there was a rumour going around, involving your potential retirement.
K: That wasn't entirely false. I considered it at some point, given how our team was doing, I thought that we were only disappointing our loyal followers by not winning the Cup after so many attempts. I was about to leave my spot and allow another young talent an opportunity to represent the Haunted Woods playing yooyuball and hopefully help us reach first place again. It was an option that I was contemplating on choosing, I wasn't going to make any rushed decisions so I calmly sat down and took everything into account: the good, the bad... Mortigan, Fanetti, Crade and Zo also helped me make a choice that I consider to have been the right one: staying. Now my plan is to keep haunting for many more years to come.
R: That will be great news for your fans. Any words that you'd like to dedicate to haunties?
K: You guys are the ones that help us keep going. Seeing you cheering, blowing your vuvuzelas and celebrating each goal with us means more than you can imagine. It motivates us; it’s the feedback we need to keep going. It's because of each of you that we give our best in every match. Without your support, we'd be nothing. So don’t stop screaming and waving your black and orange flags for us!
R: One last question from us before you're free to go get some rest for today: do you think that team Haunted Woods will get to stand on the podium this year?
K: I sure hope so, haha.
R: Thank you again for your time and good luck in the tournament.