Coming to a new country with a new team at a new school to play the sport you love has its challenges. But doing so while carrying the legacy of a mother who was once idolized in your home country is another obstacle to overcome.
This is the situation for Dorka Juhasz, a freshman forward for Ohio State from Pecs, Hungary, whose mother, Hajnalka Balazs, was a former Hungarian basketball player with club team PVSK-DALIA. Juhasz said her mother was very successful, winning championships and being heralded as a great player in her career.
Juhasz described it as a “healthy pressure” having her mother around for her games growing up.
“I wanted to play good not just for myself and for my team to win, but also I want to show her what kind of player I am,” Juhasz said.
At times growing up, Juhasz said she was known as “her daughter,” not just herself, an aspect of life that many second-generation athletes face until they are able to make a name for themselves.
But Balazs, who stopped playing when Juhasz was born, said she is “100 percent sure about” the fact that her daughter is better than she was at 19.
While she is happy to see her talented daughter move on to a Division I program like Ohio State, the distance can be hard for both mother and daughter.
The relationship Juhasz and her mother share is close and two-sided, including: the mother aspect and the coaching aspect. Juhasz said Balazs sometimes tries to give basketball critiques at the dinner table — and those critiques are constant. Juhasz said lightheartedly it’s not always the best when those two sides of her mother mix together.
“Everytime we just sat in the car after games, and we talk about the games,” Juhasz said. “She was always my second coach. She’s watching the game as a mom but also like as a coach.”
The other half — the maternal side — finds it hard for Balazs to watch her daughter live in America and be so far from home, even though she recognizes the opportunity.
Balazs and other family members will see Juhasz play the first two games of the season. She might also offer a little advice on her daughter’s game.
Juhasz said she is used to it at this point, and recognizes the impact her mother has had on her own success.
“I love to talk about her. She is one of the reasons I play this game,” Juhasz said.