Good news: The season has begun!
Bad news: We’re 0-1
Good news: I finally had Starbucks!
Bad news: My iced chai latte was ice-less
Good news: I went to Paris!
Bad news: This was my view of the Eiffel Tower
Although I may be contradicting all my good news, it was an exciting weekend and I can definitely say it showed a lot of potential.
We hit the road on Friday in a couple of vans to get to Paris, about a 4 hour drive. On the way (while stuck in traffic) we spotted the top of the Eiffel tower in the distance! It was both super exciting and so anti-climactic. It was so far away and tiny that it probably should’ve been considered a let down, BUT that’s not gonna stop my fun. We were still PUMPED to sneak a peak and try to get pictures.
That night after dinner at our hotel, being the American and former Seattlite that I am, I made a request to our coach about making a Starbucks run if one happened to be in our area. We got the green light: Starbucks was maybe 1.5 km (10-15 min walk) from our hotel. HALLELUJAH! [fyi I LOVE Starbucks and have a serious weakness for Iced Chai Lattes with soy milk] So off we set, our 9 matching players and 2 coaches for an evening jaunt to Starbucks. I spot that glorious green sign in the distance only to find out… it’s CLOSED!
It was 8:56pm the second we got to the doors and apparently it closes at 9pm. An employee was sweeping out front and our coaches and teammates asked if they’d serve us but to no avail. Then it was my turn to try some begging, “But, I’m from America!” (bad choice). In a smart ass tone, “Oh, and there’s no Starbucks in America?!” Oops. We, as a group, go on to explain there is no Starbucks in Nantes. While that’s going on I decided to step into the open door of Starbucks and shuffle up to the register where a barista is by the register and putting away some pastries. I, ever so sweetly, asked “Pleaseeeee, would you mind if I get an iced chai latte? It’s so easy, just pour the concentrate and milk together with ice and it will be perfect. Please!” She stared at me for a few seconds and asked: Ice? YES, please 🙂 We don’t have ice. Okay! No ice works!
So I got my ice-less iced chai latte, and it was still DELICIOUS 🙂 And the rest of my team ends up mosey-ing into the store and getting simple drinks as well. Bonus points for Starbucks and those employees! (except the first guy who discouraged us, boo to him)
Onto game day. It ended up being a pretty jam packed day for us. Started off with breakfast, then some quick film, before we headed to the venue for practice. At the gym, we had to take some pictures for the league or tournament first (side note: it is so difficult when photographers say “Okay, now do whatever you like.” Deer in the headlights is always the first reaction). After a lot more waiting than planned, we had our 45 minute pre-game practice, and sped back to the hotel. We didn’t have much time to squeeze in lunch, rest, film, packing up, and a snack before departing the hotel, but we managed.
We played our first match against a team from Mulhouse. They finished 2nd in the league the past few years and are a solid team. We came out really fired up, knowing that we have the ability to compete at their level. We took the first 2 sets, and then just ran out of gas and dropped the match in 5. It is so frustrating, and we had a match point opportunity in the 4th, but it wasn’t meant to be. Really wanted the ‘W’ but it was an exciting match, a respectable way to open our season, and its good knowing that we can and will be much better as the season progresses.
Also, I need to note how AWESOME our fans are! We had a solid following of 30+ Nantes-ians(?) who made the trek with us (not to mention family and friends from other cities) and had drums and flags and kept the neutral site rocking in our favor for the match. Can’t wait to play in front of them at home!
Afterwards, we had to go directly back to Nantes. Grabbed dinner on the road and got back to the apartment around 3:20am Like I said action packed way to start the season.
Even though things may not have gone as picture perfect (achem, literally in regards to the Eiffel Tower and photos) it’s all about perspective. It was an exciting and promising start to our season… I plan on seeing the Eiffel Tower up close next weekend, getting that Chai Latte again with Ice, and taking that win back in the rematch. I like what the future holds!
Wednesday was picture day for our team! We were so excited to finally get our jerseys! 😀
Yup, that’s a blue and a PINK jersey! I’ve never had a pink team color before, let along bright bubble gum pink, but I’m kinda diggin it 🙂
We met in the morning at Passage Pommeraye, a small but very classic Nantes shopping center. It was so chilly at 9 am taking the pics, but I think the the shopping center in the background will look so cool. And we also managed to have some fun, taking lots of silly pics with the photographer too. I can’t wait to see them (and share them with you!)
Afterwards the team, coaches, Presidents and some of the other staff went to a cafe for a drink (of course). This place, La Cigale, is one of the oldest and most traditional in Nantes. The presidents told me that I MUST take my family there when they visit!
It was gorgeous inside! Really ornate decorating. I kept looking at the walls and noticed some insect pictures. Then I looked again at the menu… and again at the wall… CICADAS! The place was decorated not with actual cicadas, but with fancy pictures of cicadas on the wall. It’s like their mascot?! What the heck, I hate those buggers! BUT, I loved this cafe. My macchiato was delicious 🙂 and pretty! A couple of girls ordered a hot chocolate, and I may have stolen a sip. So much more rich and delicious than your average swiss miss or even *gasp* Starbucks hot chocolate.
We finally have our full team together now, YAY, and are heading to a tournament Fri-Sun. Hoping we can finally put some quality play together!
After 5 days in La Baule, I was sure happy to get back to my apartment in Nantes. Even though training camp was at ‘the beach,’ we only saw it 3 times. 2 of the 3 was during workouts, and the other time was for 15 minutes when we first arrived. It was a long trip with lots of practices and workouts but it was a great experience.
I was most excited to get out of my top bunk and back into my large, grounded, unsqueaky bed in Nantes.