'The Late Dancing Wind' Shin Young-seok
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'The Late Dancing Wind' Shin Young-seok

Men's professional volleyball's No. 1 middle blocker Shin Young-seok (KEPCO) was the brightest star in a starry night. With two trophies to his name and some fancy dancing, he's ready for the fifth round of the V-League 2023-2024 season in good spirits.

Shin played for K-Star in the Dodram 2023-2024 V-League All-Star Game at the Samsan World Gymnasium in Incheon on Sunday, leading K-Star to a 37-36 victory in the first and second sets.

In the first set of the men's match, Shin led K-Star's offense with four points, including one service ace. After scoring, he performed a "slickback" dance on the court, entertaining the more than 6,000 fans at Samsan World Gymnasium.

Shin Young-seok went to great lengths to prepare his jump rope as a ceremonial prop. However, he was unable to perform his jump rope dance due to an unexpected twist in the rope.

Shin received a total of 14 votes in the men's MVP voting at this year's All-Star Game, beating out Leo (OK Financial Group) with nine votes, Lim Sung-jin (KEPCO) with two votes, and Han Se-u (Korean Air), Mattei (Woori Card), and Lim Dong-hyuk (Korean Air) with one vote each to take home the top prize of KRW 3 million. This is the first time Shin Young-seok has won the All-Star Game MVP award.

Shin was even more dominant in the ceremonial award voting. He received 19 votes, beating out Bayar Saihan (OK Financial Group) with six, Han Tae-joon (Woori Card) with two, and Park Kyung-min (Hyundai Capital) with one. In addition to the 1 million won in prize money, he earned 4 million won in additional income for the day.

The ceremonial prize was awarded for practicing the 'slickback' until the wee hours of the morning. Their hard work to keep up with the younger players was rewarded.

"I didn't know I had such a talent (for dancing)," said Shin Young-seok, "but the fans suggested that I do the slickback (at the All-Star Game), so I practiced for over an hour late the night before."

"The younger players, Lim Sung-jin, Lim Dong-hyuk, and Kim Ji-han, practiced dancing in my room until 2 a.m. the night before. They were so noisy that I couldn't sleep," he explained, "but I hope the fans realize that the players are making an effort for them."

Shin said he hopes to use his 4 million won to help his KEPCO teammates and fans. He also said that he would like to use the money for his teammates and fans, as he has set several personal records this season.

"This season, I have reached the 1200 blocking mark and am one away from 300 service points," said Shin. "With so many good things happening to me, I will prepare a way to give back to the fans in a material way. It will be even more meaningful if I can share this joy with the fans, such as serving coffee tea at home games."

Shin also expressed confidence in his team's chances of making it to the Spring Volleyball. After leading KEPCO to back-to-back postseason appearances last season for the first time in its history, the team is aiming for a third straight year of spring volleyball this year.

Through four rounds, KEPCO has 13 wins and 11 losses and 37 points, good for fifth place among the seven teams in the men's division. The gap between fourth-place OK Financial Group (14 wins, 10 losses, 39 points), third-place Samsung Fire (15 wins, 9 losses, 40 points), second-place 안전놀이터 Korean Air (14 wins, 10 losses, 43 points), and first-place Woori Card (15 wins, 9 losses, 44 points) is not too big, so the team can still make a run at the top.

"The players are stressed because of the ranking battle, but I think the fans will enjoy watching," said Shin Young-seok. "It's true that the women's game is more popular and we (the men's team) get pushed around a lot, but we'll do our best to make them realize that men's volleyball is also fun."

"KEPCO is going to play spring volleyball unconditionally this season," he said confidently, vowing to play the fifth and sixth rounds in front of the fans.