“I’m a free agent, so I think I can play until I’m 45.” (Jung Dae-young)
“I don’t think I can play as long as my mom.” (Kim Bo-min)
Chung Dae-young (42-GS Caltex) is a “living history” of women’s volleyball. She joined Hyundai E&C in 1999, before the V-League even existed, and has been playing for 24 years, both in the amateur and professional ranks.
In her prime, Jung was an “all-around player” 스포츠토토 who could play both offense and defense. Despite being a middle blocker, he dominated the league in blocking and receiving, as well as scoring, and bombed the league as a ‘center who can attack from behind’. She was the ‘top player’ in women’s volleyball before Kim Yeon-kyung (Heungkuk Life).
His ‘second generation’ also started playing volleyball. Kim Bo Min Yang (13) is in the first grade at Jecheon Girls’ Middle School. With her mother’s DNA and a height of 175 centimeters, she stands taller than her peers and has become a key player on the team in just her second year of volleyball.
When she met with News1 recently, she was just like any other mother-daughter duo. The adolescent daughter said she was impressed by her mom’s game, but admitted that she couldn’t play as long as her mom, and that her mom was a great player, but she still looked up to Kim as a “role model. Her mom could only look at her daughter as cute.
In 2010, when she gave birth to her daughter, marriage and childbirth meant retirement for female athletes. Female athletes didn’t retire until their late 20s and mid-30s at the earliest.
Jung Dae-young shattered this myth. After giving birth to her daughter, she quickly returned to the team and is still one of the best middle blockers in the league today, more than a decade after giving birth. Since then, there have been a number of players who have continued to play after giving birth, including Kim Hae-ran (Heungkuk Life).
“I actually thought I would retire in my mid-20s, but the launch of the V-League delayed that,” says Jung. “Then I got pregnant and had a baby, so of course I thought about retiring, but my team at the time, GS Caltex, told me to play for a few more years, saying, ‘You’re wasting your skills,’ and that’s how I ended up here,” he laughs wryly.
Kim didn’t start playing volleyball until the sixth grade, a bit later than her peers. This was a year earlier than her mother, Jung Dae-young, who started playing in middle school, but a bit later than her peers.
“I thought that because I started late, my daughter shouldn’t have to start too soon,” says Jung, explaining, “I was only playing club volleyball as a hobby, but the gap between the basics seemed to be too wide, so I started in the last grade of elementary school.”
Still, Kim Bo-min, who inherited her mom’s DNA, is progressing quickly. “I have a lot of friends and juniors among my coaches, and they all evaluate me as having a ‘volleyball sense,'” she said, adding, “I’m advising them to solidify the basics, and I feel like I’m improving faster than I thought.”
Still a mom at 42. Her daughter is thriving at the middle school level. Some have joked that the mother and daughter could play together in the V-League.
“It’s not that I haven’t thought about it,” Jung said, “but it won’t be easy because when Bo Min-i debuts, I’ll be 50 years old. It might be possible to be on the same team as a coach after retirement.”
True to his word, Chung has dreams of coaching after he retires from active play. Specifically, he wants to coach younger players in middle and high school.
“Nowadays, as more and more emphasis is placed on offense, it seems that the basics are often neglected,” he said. “Even for the future of Korean volleyball, it is difficult to be competitive if you don’t have the basics down. I’m emphasizing this to my daughter as well.”
Her daughter, who is in middle school, is on the cusp of ‘puberty’. While it’s less noticeable when she’s playing volleyball and being a part of a team, Kim says she still has her ups and downs.
“It’s not that it doesn’t happen sometimes,” he said, “but I have a dream of playing volleyball and it’s the path I chose, so I want to do well.”
One of the “secrets” to Jung’s ability to get along with players more than 20 years his junior is the presence of his daughter.
“In a way, they’re not that much older than my daughter,” he said, “and I think of them as my daughter or niece, so I don’t understand some things, but I also feel a little bit salty.”
After running long and far, Jung is now entering the twilight of his career. “I signed a new contract with GS Caltex, so I think I can play until I’m 45,” he said, adding, “I hope that anyone remembers ‘Jung Dae-young’ as a steady player who can fill in wherever and whenever needed.”
“It’s still a long way off, but I don’t think I’ll be able to play past the age of 40,” he said. “I think my mom is doing something that’s easier said than done.”
But it’s not his mother who is his role model, it’s “volleyball queen” Kim Yeon-kyung. “She’s good at attacking and defending, and the way she plays is amazing,” he said.
His mother understood, even if she felt bad for him. “My daughter wants to play outside hitter, so she likes the best players in the same position,” Jung laughed.