August 2013? Did you exist?
It did, apparently, but it was a whirlwind of volley and traveling! Let me explain. Throughout August we played in a tournament called the World Grand Prix. It’s a 4-5 week marathon tournament where 20 teams are going at it.
The first 3 weeks are each spent in a different country with pools of 4 teams. 12 matches later, the top 6 teams overall qualify for Finals week. So Team USA spent Week 1 in Brazil, Week 2 in Serbia, and Week 3 in Japan. We did well enough to qualify for Finals week so, we had a week ‘off’ (staying in Japan) before heading to a different Japanese city- Sapporo- for the last 5 back-to-back (-to-back-to-back-to-back) matches.
We left for Brazil on July 29 and the team didn’t get back to America until Sept 2!!!
Now you see why August seemed to not exist 🙂
Regardless of the crazy travel schedule, it was a great trip and a really neat experience. I have never been on the road for so long (I actually got to come home for Week 2 while the team went to Serbia) nor have I experienced so much international competition. We were playing against some of the BEST teams in the World- ourselves included.
We ended up finishing 6th overall, not doing as well in Finals week as we had hoped, but the learning that went on for us as a team, as individuals, as people, and as athletes I think was invaluable. We came home with some losses, but a lot of wins; a ton of laughs, as well as some heartbreak; life lessons and memories that will impact us for probably the rest of our lives.
All I know is that this trip was awesome from top to bottom. I am counting my lucky stars for such an opportunity. Battling alongside this group of athletes and with our staff is one of the coolest opportunities ever. We’ve got big goals, a big heart, and big things to come! Stay tuned 🙂