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“When you don’t have to try hard, it’s easy to slack off”

“When you don’t have to try hard, it’s easy to slack off”

Photographer:Fotograaf: Joey Roberts

The seven sins of handball player Ephrahim Jerry
  • Greed. Handball has taken me to many places around the world: Brazil, Qatar, Denmark, Turkey, Sweden. I want more, but my parents say it’s been great already and I’d do better to concentrate fully on my studies. I want to show everyone that I can accomplish anything I want. A year from now I want to be playing in a top handball country like France or Denmark. I could still study there, or take a break from my studies.
     
  • Gluttony. In the last two years I discovered student life, proper partying. No, not beer [laughs]; that’s for plebs. My drink is Licor 43. But I’m not naïve, I know my limits. I’ve no interest in drugs or cigarettes. I wouldn’t dare touch them anyway, my parents are really against them. They’re taboo in our home – I was raised a Christian and still regularly go to church on Sundays.
     
  • Lust. [Broad smile] I’m a spontaneous Brabant boy, I have pretty good game. I love female attention. If my friends say there’s no way I’d be able to pick up a certain girl, I go for it – successfully so far. But now I’m getting more serious; I met a girl and it could well turn into something.
     
  • Envy. I enjoy life and things are going well for me, whether it’s my studies, sport, women, parents, siblings, travel. I have no reason to be jealous. The only time I feel a small pang is when I see a teammate, someone who’s not following a tough study programme, leave to go abroad.
     
  • Sloth. I have a busy life, but I get lazy when I have to do things I don’t like. I’ll work hard during a course I find interesting, but otherwise I’ll put things off and watch a TV series instead.
     
  • Wrath. I can get angry quickly if things don’t go my way: someone gives me a bad pass, chooses the wrong formation for a match, a friend shows up late. I respond differently every time. My mother always says I know exactly how I can hurt others. I’ll give one person the cold shoulder, another I’ll say something about their hair. These days I get less annoyed than I used to at the referee. I’m more mature. But when I feel really good in a match, I tend to have a big mouth.
     
  • Pride. This is the sin I most identify with. I’ll be honest: I can be quite taken with myself and a bit arrogant. I think I can accomplish a lot, in many different areas. The problem is that when you don’t have to try hard, it’s easy to slack off or become nonchalant. You don’t want to know how many times I’ve heard: ‘Eph, don’t waste your talents! Put them to good use, then you’ll go far.’ I recognise that too and have got better in the last few years. Self-knowledge is the root of all virtue, right?!

Ephrahim Jerry, 21, third-year student of medicine, born in Geldrop, raised in Eindhoven

Trains 15 hours per week; his team is aiming for a top-four spot in the joint Dutch-Belgian premier league. As of this season, member of Sporting Neerpelt (BE); previously Lions Sittard (NL)

Best performance to date: selected as best left back during the European U-19 Championship in Sweden in 2014. His team came fourth

This is a series about students who sport at the highest level

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