Children grow up grasping the nuances of myriad sports but, invariably, there comes a time when they have to decide what is the ideal engagement in winter and during summer.

Quite often they gravitate towards one sport or another because they are good at it, enjoy it or simply because their mates are into it — if they're lucky, it's because of all those reasons.

However, there are times when teenagers simply don't have the luxury of multiple choices because the dispensable income in their households dictates otherwise.

Derek Faavae and Luatolu Semisi belong to that school of youngsters whose socio-economic map has plotted their path towards volleyball.

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"It has had me thinking about playing rugby next year," says Faavae before he represents Hawke's Bay A in the annual Interprovincial Championship Under-15 Tournament to be staged at the Pettigrew-Green Arena in Napier from tomorrow.

"I might not play rugby because of the cost and perhaps because of the sport."

The three-day IPC tourney primarily pits North Island teams against each other although there are two rep sides from Nelson Bays in the mix, when they start competing from 1pm and conclude with the finals on Tuesday afternoon, according to Volleyball Hawke's Bay chairman Peet Lichtenberg.

The Bay are fielding two boys and girls' teams each. Waikato are the defending champions in a nine-team boys' section while Waikato, North Harbour and Bay of Plenty are considered favourites in both the gender divisions, says Lichtenberg.

"The games promise to have long rallies, power hitting and pure athleticism," he says, revealing three international referees will preside over technical aspects in conjunction with VBHB tournament manager Dave Williamson.

Derek Faavae loves how volleyball tends to draw on a bigger sense of collectiveness exemplified in the many hands required to prevent the ball from succumbing to gravity. Photo / Warren Buckland
Derek Faavae loves how volleyball tends to draw on a bigger sense of collectiveness exemplified in the many hands required to prevent the ball from succumbing to gravity. Photo / Warren Buckland

Faavae, a Hastings Boys' High School pupil, has had a discussion with parents Anne Marie, a teacher aide at Peterhead School, and Kereti, a forklift driver, who want him to remain in a rugby team after representing the HBHS U15s who have won their national competition two years in a row.

"I've told them [parents] I'll do my best," says the 15-year-old blindside flanker who is pondering using rugby — which he has been playing since he was a child — to maintain his fitness for volleyball aspirations.

Faavae is following in the footsteps of his father, a longtime Bay senior men's representative.

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"There wasn't much volleyball when I was young but when I went to intermediate [school] dad told me he used to play," says the former Heretaunga Intermediate School pupil who got into competitive volleyball only two years ago.

His love for the code grew when he visited an uncle who also played. He differentiates between rugby and volleyball.

"In rugby, you know, you have to be the guy who scores the tries and make the biggest hits," says Faavae before adding volleyball tends to draw on a bigger sense of collectiveness exemplified in the many hands required to prevent the ball from succumbing to gravity.

His prowess is reflected in his representative stints.

In Year 8 the main post player (outside hitter), who occasionally becomes the setter, was a Bay U15 rep and the following year he had made the cull for the U17s as well. This year he represented the U19s. It had culminated with a national youth side tour to the United States in July/August.

"It was very hot in Florida but I loved it."

Faavae says his goal at the IPC in Taradale is to help the Lepani Temo-coached Bay U15s progress to the playoffs and, on an individual note, make the tourney team.

"A few teams will give us a challenge, such as Waikato, Bay of Plenty and North Harbour," he says after the Bay A side finished fifth at The Peak Stadium in Hamilton last year.

Faavae, a Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints follower who won't play tomorrow because of his religious beliefs, says the team has mutated a lot from the one last year because players had grown older.

Luatolu Semisi's footprints in volleyball go all the way back to modest villages in Apia, Samoa, before she emigrated here in 2102. Photo / Warren Buckland
Luatolu Semisi's footprints in volleyball go all the way back to modest villages in Apia, Samoa, before she emigrated here in 2102. Photo / Warren Buckland

Semisi, who will play for the Bay U15 Giants team (the other is Orcas) under the tutelage of Malcolm Nicholson, also has been in the rep mix for two years.

The Hastings Girls' High School pupil, who also will be entering Year 11 next year, says netball and rugby (and sevens) are also her codes, something she has been doing from when she was 5.

"Last year I had to make a choice on which sport I wanted to do due to financial problems," says Semisi who enjoys the camaraderie volleyball offers around the country.

It's part of the lineage of a teen whose parents, Lelava Semisi, an HB Regional Hospital employee, and Reupena Sa'e, an orchard manager, who emigrated from Apia, Samoa, in 2012.

"We used to have like little villages playing in competitions in Samoa."

The Giants captain suspects it's the different family-like environment that makes it enjoyable for her.

The former Ebbett School and Hastings Intermediate pupil says her parents have "kind of let that go" on making a choice but when, inevitably, push comes to shove she is in no doubt that volleyball is No 1.

Regardless of what transpires, Semisi is indebted to her parents, who were social competitive volleyballers, for making sacrifices to enable her to enjoy her codes despite the fiscal pinch.

The Giants' blueprint is uncomplicated.

"We might not come first but as long as we try our best to get the place we can get to and the girls have fun and we all get to know each other better individually, then we'll be happy," she says after the Giants finished 12th last year.

Akin to Faavae, she harbours intentions of playing for New Zealand but a more immediate ambition is to make a two-day national youth women's selection camp which will be staged a day after the tournament here.

Semisi thanks Anne Marie Faavae for picking up the reins of HBHS coach on a short notice to mentor them every Wednesday after school, despite not having a "full-on training", to keep them going.

She credits her incremental development as a volleyballer to Nicholson as well as team manager Thelma Vilo for "being a mum on the court".

Luatolu Semisi and Derek Faavae will do their utmost to help their respective gender HB teams at the IPC Under-15 volleyball tournament at the PG Arena from tomorrow. Photo / Warren Buckland
Luatolu Semisi and Derek Faavae will do their utmost to help their respective gender HB teams at the IPC Under-15 volleyball tournament at the PG Arena from tomorrow. Photo / Warren Buckland

Tournament details

Boys

Pool A: Waikato A, Bay of Plenty B, Wellington B.
Pool B: Bay of Plenty A, Hawke's Bay A, Waikato B.
Pool C: North Harbour A, Wellington A, Hawke's Bay B.

Girls

Pool X: North Harbour A, Hawke's Bay Giants, Tasman B, Waikato B, Wellington Phoenix.
Pool Y: Bay of Plenty A, Wellington Amazons, Hawke's Bay Orcas, North Harbour B.
Pool Z: Tasman A, Waikato A, Bay of Plenty B, Wellington Trojans.