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Mike Omar: ‘Volleyball is my escape’

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MIKE Omar, a veteran volleyball player, shows his love for the sport by competing in nearly every local tournament held on Saipan. He also lends a helping hand to the NMI Volleyball Association when he is not a player by taking the role of a referee. 

Omar's passion for the sport started when he was a student at Kagman High School. "It’s been my escape since I first started playing in high school," he said. Omar and friends would play volleyball during breaks, after school, and at family gatherings on weekends.

Volleyball is about teamwork with the goal of grounding the ball on the opposing team's end of the court. For Omar, the exchange between two teams in an effort to earn a point is what he loves the most about the sport. “It’s the perfect play that’s the most exciting part of volleyball," he said. "Even if it’s just for a single point. From a good receive or pass, to a perfect set, and then a killer hit. It has little to no physical contact with the opposing team, requiring mostly strategic plays."

In his sophomore year in 2006, Omar started participating in various tournaments on island as well as in the states, gaining experience and honing his skills along the way.

"I’ve participated in many volleyball tournaments, and my first off-island tournament was held in Fort Dix, New Jersey in 2008,” Omar said. “I placed first in the men’s double-single elimination bracket."

 

 Mike Omar reaches out for the setup a during a 2019 Avengers Volleyball League game at the Ada Gym. Photo by James F. Sablan Jr.

 

Mike Omar, second right, poses with the other members of the North Shore team, which won first prize in the 2017 PIC Beach Volleyball Tournament. Photo by James F. Sablan Jr.

Even when he was serving in the U.S. Army, Omar joined intramural leagues in Maryland, and played indoor and beach volleyball in Hawaii. 

Omar has acquired many trophies as a volleyball player over the years, but there are only two memories which he cherishes the most. “Having the opportunity to play at the Aloha State games in Oahu, Hawaii is one. Even though we did not place or rank at the top, it was an experience I’ll never forget. It was a proud moment to see other Pacific islanders compete against each other and to see such talented players." 

Omar's second best memory was the opportunity to represent the CNMI in the 2018 Micronesian Games in Yap. Although the CNMI ended the event winless, Omar said he and his teammates were able to experience true competition in facing teams from Kiribati, Yap, Palau and Pohnpei.

 

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