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2017-07-31 16:26:00 CEST

Humans of Beach Volleyball

Hernan Humana’s #WorldChampsVienna

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination” – Nelson Mandela

Every child dreams of making a difference. Every child dreams of one day forging his or her own path and building his or her own legacy. But we grow up. We get lost in the every day. We get lost in the monotony of it all. We forget what it was like to have big overarching dreams. We lose hope in the world that was supposed be the catalyst for us to achieve greatness. But, there are those rare beings among us that make us feel like dreamers again, that make us feel like anything is possible, that is Hernan Humana and this is his #WorldChampsVienna story…

Hernan Humana at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships 2017 in Vienna presented by A1. Photocredit: Beach MajorsHernan Humana at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships 2017 in Vienna presented by A1. Photocredit: Beach Majors

Hernan was born in Chile. He played indoor volleyball for the Chilean national team for 11 years during the peak of the social and political unrest that gripped the nation. In 1973, at the height of Humana’s pro volleyball career, was the famous Chilean coup d'état. General Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean Commander-in-Chief and a member of the military junta, appointed himself the new President and his Cabinet was made up almost entirely of military men. General Pinochet's regime was characterised by brutal repression and 3,000 people were killed or disappeared during his 17 year reign. Many Chilean nationals were forced to seek political asylum elsewhere. Hernan left Chile to join his family with nothing but the clothes on his back.

Hernan Humana (jumping) playing for the Chilean national indoor volleyball team. Photocredit: Hernan HumanaHernan Humana (jumping) playing for the Chilean national indoor volleyball team. Photocredit: Hernan Humana

Hernan found himself in Canada speaking not a word of English. He knew that to make it there, he would have to acclimatize and do it as soon as possible. His first step was to learn English. He did more than just that. He later went on to finish his degree in Physical Education and to also study Sociology. He is now a Professor and lectures on the ‘Socio-cultural Perspectives in Kinesiology’ at York University in Canada. He is also a closet poet and a published author who wrote ‘Playing under the Gun’ – an autobiographical novel which details his life under Pinochet’s regime.

On the new culture and way of life in Canada as an immigrant, Hernan laughed and shared this little anecdote: “In Chile when someone says ‘I’ll call you later’ we use it as a phrase, we don’t necessarily mean it, but in Canada ‘I’ll call you later’ means I’ll call you later’.” 

He never gave up volleyball – he coached his little brothers indoor volleyball club and giggled as he told us how his “little brother acted as a translator, translating his Spanish instructions into English”. His passion for volleyball definitely had its positive and influential effects on his children who have both taken up careers as pro beach players. His daughter, Melissa Humana-Paredes is currently playing at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 with Sarah Pavan for Team Canada.

Hernan Humana with daughter Melissa Humana-Paredes, she is currently playing with Sarah Pavan at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1.Hernan Humana with daughter Melissa Humana-Paredes, she is currently playing with Sarah Pavan at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1.

The long and the short of it is that Hernan is one of those people in this world that make you want to be a better person. His ideals and his unique way of looking at the world rubs off on you. He is a proud father, a deep-thinker, an idealist, a volleyball enthusiast, a coach and a person who never gives up hope on anything and anyone.

Like Lynn Simmons, Alex Prietzel and Giulia Sui – Hernan Humana is also one of the Humans of Beach Volleyball. If you see him, grab and him and let him move you.

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