What is it like to be a professional basketball player? Interview with Ivaylo Ravutsov, sports leader at Zlatarski International School

Ivaylo Ravutsov was born in 1968 in Sofia and his life has always been associated with sports. For 20 years he was a professional basketball player. Upon completion of his active sports career, he has coached various teams and has been head of the children’s school of BC “Levski”. Today he manages sports activities at Zlatarski International School.

What were you like as a child?
Normal child – mischievous, loving sports and games.

What you made you choose basketball and how did you develope your sports career?
My parents were basketball players and logically I followed their path, though I hesitated between basketball and football. In 1980 I started proper training. As a teenager I was repeatedly part and captain of our national team. At 20 years old I got my first call-up for the senior national team. In my sports career I have played for almost all important and powerful clubs in the country, I became champion with the team of “Levski” and I won the Cup of Bulgaria with the team of CD-Dimitrovgrad. After winning everything you can to win at home and I went to Portugal where I played for three years for team SEIXAL.

When did people start calling you “the Bulgarian Michael Jordan” and why?
I would not say that it is a public secret that I am called the “Bulgarian Michael Jordan.” When we were on a US tour with the team of Levski, after a match with the University of Atlanta, a unique fan of the team came to us, who I lated found out to be, the person supporting us for decades and who is everywhere with us and is our most passionate fan. He came to shake my hand and said he had never seen a guy play really like Michael Jordan. It was one of the cases and then there were journalists with the team and I said ‘here’s the news of the game. ” So generally that spread the name. In Bulgaria there were such similar events, but I do not think about anything in particular.

Which is the game that you will never forget?
Many matches are worth remembering and I will never forget, but one stands out because I achieved something very difficult not to say impossible. This is the match in Sofia, in “Universiade” against the strong team at the time of Ficosota Shumen.

Then I managed to score 35 points in the first half (20 min.). I started second and only within 2 minutes I scored three. So I finished the game with 41 points in 22 mins of playing time. The points are memorable and unique for me, and that I achieved a 100% success rate.

What is the formula for success?
The dosage I do not know, but I can say the components. These are perseverance, discipline and even more perseverance.

What spirit should a team have?
Of course the answer is to have the spirit of a winner, but to achieve something, one must have before it have a clear purpose and unity in the way of achieving it.

What is the role of the leader in a sports team?
To provide primarily personal example how to work selflessly in all situations arising before the team.

Does sport wear you out more than other professions?
Yes, it does … but it gives many times more in every respect.

What are the main objectives in sport classes at Zlatarski International School of Sofia?
Our goals are for the students to understand that sport is an important part of their full life. To understand that sport is a way of communicating and another chance to show yourself. To understand it now in school, not in future years, looking sadly and disappointed in the mirror.

Are there reliable players in the sport teams of Zlatarski International School of Sofia?
Yes, there are many good athletes in our various teams. The possess great qualities and skills for their age. Let’s not mention names so as not to miss someone, but there are students who are great in their sports, in which they are actively engaged.

How do you explain the fact that today many students prefer going to the gym than being in a sports team?
It is understandable to some extent because of the desire to achieve a harmonious body without special and specific skills. And hence my concern that some think that drinking down some “magical things” will replace the multiple exercised that are needed even in the gym.

Does sport prevent the individual development of children, taking into account today’s misconceptions, for example, that athletes are necessarily stupid and do not have an education?
Whether you’re an athlete, a lawyer, it does not matter – the profession is not a determinant of mental development. This entirely depends on the person – being in sports does not interfere with reading books or you can be a lawyer, but not read any book outside of your studies. So, it is up to the person.

What does sport give us? 
It is clear that it instills perseverance and discipline, but it gives us health and above all the ability to move freely. If you do not exercise, we could not use our bodies correctly and in a way that it can really be used. Sport allows movement.

What do you do when you have free time?
Rest (active) … walk with my family outings, climb mountains and places suitable for my hobby to photograph birds.

What will you advise young people today?
I advise them to be more open to everything, because at the moment they are enclosed in a sphere – whether it’s sports, music or science – so I advise them to care more and try new things.

The interview was prepared by:
Kalina D. (10b), Christine K. (10b), the team of the school newsletter