“Retirement is a little fear” … Celine Domirk, who will soon be forty years old, departs on a trip

Indestructible. This is an adjective that fits perfectly with Celine Domerk. Like her game on the court, the French basketball player has no intention of giving up her shorts and sneakers at the age of 39. A few days ago, following the victory of her team, Basket Lands, in the French Cup final, she announced the continuation of her career for at least another season.

This is the second time in two years that the former French captain has postponed her retirement from sport. A few weeks before her 40th birthday celebration (July 9), she confides in 20 minutes Based on this choice, his career as well as his new role as France team manager.

How are you after all these feelings?

All is well ! True, we went through something a little crazy with this victory in the Coupe de France. Last year there was a champion title and it was a dream for the club, but the Coupe de France, it’s been really legitimate to win it since I arrived in 2016. The leaders wanted to take everyone from the Landes at Bercy for several seasons plus, we won. It was a wonderful moment to live in. The club put some pressure on me when I went down. But it’s not because you signed Selene Domerk that you’ll win titles the next day.

And this contract extension, was it really planned?

Let’s say it was half striped (smiles). It has been under discussion for some time and I had to give my answer to the club. It’s never easy to decide but hey, after winning and definitely under the influence of emotion, I spoke with my heart more than my mind. True, it was funny how the boss cheated on me a little during this party, she told me before with a little beer in her nose but I didn’t think she would throw me how in front of the audience.

This is the second time you’ve postponed the end of your career…

Last season it was the managers who were really knocking on my door to ask me a favor because it was a bit complicated in the hiring process. They were in a mess. The problem is that I announced everywhere that I was quitting and didn’t really want to change my mind… I had to assume but the desire to play was there because it’s still there this year.

What motivates you to keep going?

It’s not about the challenge and reaching a certain age. Specifically, today, in sports, everyone thinks that you should stop because you are 40 years old. Because of this pressure, I asked myself the question but really, when I listen to myself, the answer is pretty clear, I still want to play, to train… I always like to outdo myself. I’m not exhausted at all and what’s more, I know how lucky I am to still be able to perform at my age. I want to enjoy it until the last moment.

Are you not afraid to make the year many?

I want to tell you that it’s been six years and I tell myself that this year may be a long year. Well, anyway, I stop commenting on my future (laughs).

Celine Domerick, Basket Lands toymaker.
Celine Domerick, Basket Lands toymaker. – Julian Bakut

What about retirement?

This is certain. The retirement of the athlete is a simple death. We don’t know how we will live it. Me, I have the same calendar in my head for 22 years. So I find myself without it… The first few months are going to be great, I’m going on vacation, I’m traveling, but I might miss my current life pretty quickly. In addition, what drives me above all else is the feelings I feel on the pitch. Yes, retirement is a bit scary, I admit.

Do you regret ending your international career perhaps too soon (in 2017)?

Not at all because I think the suspension of the French national team allowed me to stay at the club. I don’t think I could go on. I’ve tried everything with Les Bleues. The choice was somewhat wise in hindsight.

What are you no longer doing today compared to 10 or 20 years ago?

I feel that healing is no longer the same. You have to be more careful. I go to the doctor often (smiles). You should get a massage and have an irreplaceable lifestyle. After that, I changed my sporting position, went from playmaker to winger, and suddenly I no longer had the ball, I no longer defended all terrain. Activity is less important and allows me to play for a long time without burning after five minutes.

Celine Domerick, Basket Lands toymaker.
Celine Domerick, Basket Lands toymaker. – Julian Bakut

What is the goal of the end of the season with Basket Lands? Title or is it just a bonus?

I think it’s just a bonus. Not because we won the Coupe de France we will say loud and clear that we want to double. This is not the mentality of the club. Indeed, there is a quarter-final match against Charleville (the second leg is Tuesday in the Ardennes). The season is already successful but we are not satisfied.

This club is really special…

Yes, it is very interesting to play here. The room is full all the time, people live basketball. They have all played basketball at least once in their lives and you can feel that. It gives you extra spirit and when it is less good, just turn your head and you will see that the room is full when it is a game without bets. They are always there and push you through the most difficult moments. So, in return, you want to give more and yes, that definitely played on my decision to continue the adventure.

You were recently the director of Les Bleues, do you like it?

I’m still learning a lot because I’m just getting started. But it’s very interesting because I realize how many things have to be put in place for an athlete to just focus on the field. And then, it’s France, you want to give your best both on and off the field. I’m still very invested. I am the kind of Swiss army knife that makes the connection between the players, the coaching staff and the federation. I also try to convey my values.

With some players, you are their opponent, their manager…

Yes, but we managed to share things. Indeed, when you are a player, sometimes you play against friends and the situation is even worse. There’s a lot of respect between us so it’s going really well.

What will be the goal in the next World Cup in September?

We are in reconstruction. The qualifiers were tough. This team will take time to work and find an identity. There is no written goal for this World Cup.

Are you interested in training?

Absolutely! I think working as a coach is a real calling. Not because we were a player and even a good player we can coach. It’s another job. I have things to pass on but I’m not sure I have the skills to “lead” a team. After that, you never know but for now, I have no desire to train. I see myself more as a leader in the future.

Even if it’s not over yet, how do you view your career?

Everything exceeded my expectations. I never thought I would get this career. When I start basketball, it’s just about playing with my girlfriends and doing some exercise. And in the end, I had a lot of fun throughout my career, in addition, I won titles. This is the icing on the cake. Well, I agree with you, I had a lot of cherries (laughs). Once again I keep the emotions I experienced during this trip. Today, I’m not running after another title but after feelings, that’s what keeps me going.

Do you realize what you brought to your sport?

I think the London Olympics was a real catalyst. We moved on to another field with our silver medal. Basketball has gained prominence in the media. I often remember that before we actually got results but we didn’t see them. Since 2012, we have not become champions but high-level athletes like the others. We were afraid it was just a soufflé but we rode the wave with our results. This is how we will continue to talk about our sport.

Leave a Comment