U.S. Women's National Team Journal with Joan Powell

June 27, 2008, 1:47 p.m. (ET)

June 25, 2008 * Wroclaw, Poland * FIVB World Grand Prix

There is internet in the rooms, but it was down the first day – so here is Day 1 & 2.

After a few hours of sleep it was time to get up, get some breakfast in our new hotel in Wroclaw, Poland. Then the U.S. delegation got on the bus with our interpreter, Kate, at 10:30 a.m. for the 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. training time.

We traveled to an outlying practice site. The concept of the facility was similar to a training center with an added coaching school. Head coach “Jenny” allowed students to sit in the stands to observe practice. Training consisted of serving and passing. Kate helped interpret our way into their weight room, for a fee, where the team did their 40-minute routine.

We were back to the hotel for lunch, and a little rest. I went for a run - interesting old buildings, and lots of traffic, many on the cable cars, with more walking and on bikes. The architecture of the buildings, doors and doorways is fascinating. I was disappointed that there was so much graffiti. Our interpreter did not think the perpetrators were gangs, just kids marking their names. I cannot believe that the youth would desecrate the doors and buildings of these historic buildings. I certainly was filled with mixed emotions as I ran freely through the streets. Not so long ago, there was no glimpse of freedom, only calculated devastation which caused unthinkable horror. Wroclaw is 215 miles away from Auschwitz.

After a shower, then it was back on the bus at 5:20 p.m. for training again. Of course, practice was a bit more intense with some added defense and hitting. We returned to the hotel for dinner.

My bed never felt so good!

Day 2

It was pretty much the same routine for the women’s squad except there was an added video session. At breakfast, Doctor Lori was in line beside Kim Glass. The doc asked Kim how she was; Kim’s response was classic – “Living the Dream.”

The interpreter and I had a chance to get to the local grocery store for water as the water provided is carbonated. As Nicole Davis said, “We have got to get water without gas.”

The water was very heavy, so I asked the manager, through Kate, if we could transport the water to our hotel and return the cart tomorrow as we will have to buy more water. He was very nice and escorted us to the hotel and returned the cart for us. Really I was disappointed because I wanted to borrow the cart to transport our laundry!

Speaking of laundry, what a hassle. There are no coin operated launder mats. It is really expensive in the hotel. (As a member of the USAV audit committee, I am cognizant of the budget!) Kate and I checked out a place in the mall, not too far away from the hotel. They gave us a price, but said they could not do our knee pads – because they didn’t have a price on their list for such an item!! Are you kidding me? They did however give us a name of a place that was cheaper and that would do all of our gear.

I asked Kate if her friend, Alicia who attends the sports university, could help us. Kate called Alicia and she was willing to take our laundry to her dorm. Great, I thought. Diane French, Alicia and I took three bags to her dorm while the team practiced. Alicia was given a key to the downstairs laundry room. We started two loads, but I noticed there wasn’t a dryer. Okay, my fault I asked if Alicia could help us wash clothes – did not mention drying them!

Alicia told us not problem that she would take the clothes to her room and hang it up, spread it out and have it for us when we returned to our second session of training. And she did just that. Some of the team’s items were still damp – but they were clean.

In between practices, Kate, through Alicia, secured a beautiful new cardio facility for the women’s team. The fitness center is attached to a large swimming pool with slide and grassy area. The manager asked if she could take a picture for marketing reasons. She said that she would email me the pictures of the team working out and one team photo that she took. I gave her Bill Kauffman’s email address as well.

After the second practice, it was time to eat again. I took another direction on my daily run and took my camera this time. I encountered a very busy town square. It had lots of stores, cafes, Catholic churches and people. I stopped in the churches – oh my, they were so ornate. I returned just before the rain.

We came back from the second practice session, ate dinner and then off to the store with assistant coach, Gen Kawakita and our interpreter, Kate. Nicole Davis told us that we could get Evian water at the BP gas station. They were completely out, so back to our grocery store. We purchased what we hope was water without gas for tomorrow’s practice. The manager walked us to the hotel to return his cart because he wanted to get out, according to Kate.

I gathered all the passports for tomorrow’s preliminary meeting. I attempted to send this journal entry, but there is no internet again tonight.

Joan Powell
Team Leader, U.S. Women's National Team at World Grand Prix

Journal Archives for 2008 FIVB World Grand Prix
June 23: U.S. Women's National Team Journal with Joan Powell - Day 7
June 22: U.S. Women's National Team Journal with Joan Powell - Day 6
June 21: U.S. Women's National Team Journal with Joan Powell - Day 5
June 20: U.S. Women's National Team Journal with Joan Powell - Day 4
June 19: U.S. Women's National Team Journal with Joan Powell - Day 3
June 18: U.S. Women's National Team Journal with Joan Powell - Day 1 and 2