We talk to Ján Margita about his love for sport

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We talk to Ján Margita about his love for sport


Ján Margita, a long-time organizer of sporting events in our company, came to the final of the hockey tournament O Cup of the President of U. S. Steel Košice only as a guest. In the ironworks, he was the main organizer of both summer and winter sports games for almost 20 years. We used his participation in hockey for a short conversation.

Where is your love for sports rooted?

My father took me with him to the marathon committee when I was 5 years old. He gave me 10 programs and I went to sell them.  So those roots are probably there. Later, my father took me to all competitions, to football, to hockey that whistled, to basketball...  And, of course, there was also a marathon.  I also knew the founder of the Košice Marathon, Vojtech Bukovský.  I also played sports, played basketball, tennis, fencing.  Although not peak, I lived by sports from morning to evening.

As an organizer, you have participated in the preparation of several top, international events. Which ones were they?

Of course, MMM, where I grew up. First I worked as an interpreter, then as chief interpreter, then as secretary. When I came to the ironworks in 1973, I worked at TJ VSŽ, which was one of the largest physical education clubs in Košice. At that time, the international gymnastics race for the KVP Cup was created, where I started as an interpreter, later I was the head of the organizing committee, most of whose members came from the VSŽ.  They were great people, I remember that period fondly.  I consider this gymnastic race to be my greatest success, because it was among the four best organized races in the world.  My father taught me that everything I do should be done as if I were doing it for myself. To make me happy, because that joy will surely be passed on to others.

And then came the almost 20-year period when you were the main organizer of the winter and summer sports games at U. S. Steel Košice...

This period of my life began in 2005 and ended last year. The beginnings were spectacular. For example, we normally had 60 people registered for tennis, 26 teams for football. Gradually, as the people in the factory got older, fewer and fewer registered for sports competitions from year to year.   I am glad that we did not interrupt our sports tradition even during the pandemic.  But "since covid" people seem to get lazy, a lot of them worked and still work from home. And it's a shame. Today's youth seem to have stopped playing sports and when they do sports, they do so only individually. Therefore, I am glad that young people from the factory came up with the idea of including a new sport – beach volleyball. Last year there was one day, but I believe that this year more teams will join and this sport will be played for several days. I finished in my seventies on the organizing committee of the marathon and I ended up organizing corporate sports competitions in the seventy-five. At a certain age, it is simply necessary to stop and pass the imaginary baton to the new establishment, to young people who will do it completely differently, maybe new sports will be added, maybe some will be canceled. That is how it should be.  But I will definitely remain a fan. Whenever the organizers call me to come, I am very happy to come. And I will help when needed.

What do you remember most?

In 2000 I received the City of Košice Award for the development of sport.  It was a great honour for me.

And I like to remember especially the team of organizers.  I was always surrounded by people who did it from the heart. I met so many people who literally lived sports. Although it was an amateur sport, it always had a high level. For example, I will not allow myself to go to a hockey tournament.  There is no such tradition in the former Czechoslovakia or Slovakia. I'm glad that many presidents have been involved in different sports, whether it was George Babcoke, David Rintoul, Scott Buckiso... Not only corporate, but also sporting events of international importance in the city, such as MMM, began to be supported by the first president, John Goodish...  I wish corporate sports games would never be cancelled. They have a beautiful and long tradition.  I believe that more young people will be involved, that new sports disciplines will also come. 

After almost 20 years, Ján Margita participated in the final of the hockey tournament only as a guest.  Just a few days before, he had celebrated his birthday. His former colleagues prepared a beautiful surprise for him in the form of a 7 kg cake, baked especially for the occasion by Andrea Nováková.

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