June 28, 2008 * Wroclaw, Poland * FIVB World Grand Prix
The days are running into each other – there is certainly much routine to our daily events now that we are competing.
Training follows breakfast, then a meeting or video. Kate, our interpreter and I either go to the laundry or the store to replenish the water supply. Water without gas, that is. We have developed a system. Since there is a water sponsor and the matches are on television, we take the provided liter and half bottles of (gas) water, put each number on the cap and also provide each team member with a bottle of regular water. We put it out each day with a sign “leaded” and “unleaded.” The players then transfer the water they prefer into the sponsored water bottle.
Now laundry is not that simple. There are no coin operated machines in the hotel as in Japan, or even coin operated machines in Poland for that matter. We are at the mercy of the locals. As previously reported, Alicia, the college student was so gracious to do our first load of laundry but did not have the capability to dry it. Diane French and Sue Woodstra dropped off the last go around of training gear, but were charged too much. The owner had given us a deal as Diane asked that the laundry need not be ironed or folded.
Kate and I had to negotiate, but certainly did not get the price Diane was offered the first time, even though we provided the adjusted sales receipt. Okay, those of you still reading are thinking this is pretty trivial reporting – believe me, laundry and water are a huge deal, it can consume your life as “team manager!”
Can you imagine playing in a tournament and having to go to the store daily to buy water and because it is so heavy you have to ask the manager if you can use their cart to transport it back to your hotel? Looking like a presidential body guard in his suit, ear piece and lapel piece, escorts you to the hotel for fear you may not return his cart!! I just smile and always present them with a USA pin in appreciation.
The 24-hour postal service is interesting as well. I stood in the wrong line forever just trying to buy some post card stamps for Jenny and me. Finally a local guy who spoke English helped me. I got my stamps and was able to send my cards. I am at their mercy here in Poland when it comes to money, though. I so need Kate with me on my adventures.
Tonight we were able to watch the end of a great match between Thailand and host Poland. It went five sets with Thailand the victor. Our team warms up in the corridors as they did last night until we were able to enter the playing surface.
The U.S. was on a mission. I think the one set loss to Thailand convinced them to “get ‘er done” tonight. Tayyiba Haneef-Park was tough from the front and back row as was Logan Tom. But Kim Glass was very effective all around, especially from the service line. Veterans Heather Bown and Danielle Scott-Arruda were steady as always; Nicole Davis added to the mix with her consistent defense and serve reception. And yesterday’s MVP, setter Lindsey Berg provided leadership and consistency to the offense.
In the third set, Doctor Lori got my attention as she needed some assistance. I left the media tables and met her just behind the bench area. With that there was a whistle in our direction. As Doc recalls, “All of a sudden, I heard a whistle and felt the entire hall was looking in our direction.” Lori told me that one of the players needed something to drink – non-carbonated. Just then the second referee scolded Lori and motioned for her to remain seated on the bench. Are you kidding me? So who is watching the nets? According to Danielle, he was reminded numerous times about our opponent’s overlapping in rotation 4, but to no avail.
The doc apologized to the staff at dinner. We all got a chuckle out of the international incident. Regardless of the distraction, the USA team won the match 25-13, 25-21, 25-20.
According to Lindsey Berg at the press conference, “Our serving is what won the match tonight as we took our opponents out of their offense.” DR’s head coach commented on the serving as well as the USA effective block.
Jenny Lang Ping mentioned “We prepared for a difficult, five-set match.” She mentioned the Pan Am Cup where the Dominicans were the champs.
It should be exciting tomorrow night playing in front of the home crowd.
Team Leader, U.S. Women's National Team at World Grand Prix