Day 3 in Italy: Meetings and More

Aug. 27, 2009, 6:13 p.m. (ET)

Aug. 27, 2009

One item that was omitted in yesterday’s report was the city of San Diego as being the second in the line of cities to host the USA Men's volleyball team. How could I leave out the old Balboa Park gym that took the Dayton refugees in before the Colorado Springs move? My bad.

Today was the last day of the preparation for our match against the Iranians tomorrow. We had a great practice today and looked very sharp. Several parents arrived and were in the gym so I think the team was pretty pumped. The Crabbs, Davises, and Sanders arrived and were there. Ah the joys of international travel bit Paula Crabb as her backpack (with laptop and other important items) was left on a bus and her bags did not arrive when she did. She has recovered her backpack but as of press time, she did not have her baggage. We will have our last film session soon. 

The technical meeting took place today and it may have been a world record as it was only 47 minutes long. Coach Read won the wager as his guess for the over-under was 57 minutes (no money exchanged hands so don't mention it to the NCAA). All the rest of us went with the over. Usually these can be long drawn out affairs but the Italians do it right. Pat Powers is on a refereeing subcommittee and attended in an official capacity. One of the great outside hitters in the history of USA volleyball, it is always good to see "Peeps". Wow, could he hit an angle.

These meetings discuss the rules of the tournament and many of its policies. One of the new rules being used is it no longer is illegal to touch the net unless it is touched on the top 7cm. Don't refocus your eyes, you read that correctly. The body of the net (from antennae to antennae) except the top tape and the antennae is legal to contact now. WOW! Now that will lead to some mumbling in the crowd!! 

I mentioned that Jesolo is a tourist town that attracts beach goers and sun worshippers.  Well, the beach that all these people are attracted to is at least 1.5 miles long, maybe closer to 2 or 3. There are wall-to-wall hotels along this stretch with a very deep beach, possibly 50 yards from hotel to water. EVERY one of the hotels has their section roped off with lounge chairs that recline. They are in neat rows and number about 15 deep and are close side by side. We were trying to guess how many lounges were on this beach and the guesses were somewhere between 10 and 20 THOUSAND!!!! I kid you not. There are A LOT of people here who love the beach. And most of them hit the main street outside our hotel to parade their suntans at night. 

Tomorrow, another chapter in USA men's volleyball begins as our Boys’ Youth National Team takes the court. Coaches Read, Byron and Friend have done all they could to make this group the best that they could be. The boys have worked their tails off to represent the USA here at the FIVB World Championship. The preparation is over and the tournament begins. "WE ARE - USA!!"

Pretty pumped myself,


View Ken Preston's gallery of photos from Italy at