Blog: Charlie Swearingen in Costa Rica No. 2

By Charles Swearingen | April 18, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)
Bill Hamiter and the U.S. Men's Sitting Team
From left, Head Coach Bill Hamiter, Eric Duda (5), Charlie Swearingen (13), Dan Regan (2), Thomas Davis (7), J.Dee Marinko (18)
and Rejy Bacchus of the U.S. Men's Sitting Team show the black bands they are wearing in honor of the victims of the
Boston Marathon bombings.

Charlie Swearingen is a member of the U.S. Men's Sitting Volleyball Team, which is playing in the Central American Games for Sitting Volleyball in Costa Rica

SAN JUAN, Costa Rica (April 17, 2013) – So for people who have never traveled abroad, let me just make it clear that if you think there are crazy drivers in the States, then foreign drivers would blow your mind. Tonight on the way to the stadium, our driver skillfully weaved in and out of 2.5 lanes at blistering speeds. He would stop so close to the vehicle in front of us that air can barely have passed between the two vehicles. It truly is an experience that cannot be accurately conveyed over the internet.

We arrived, safely, at our venue and were mentally ready to get the job done. Our strategy – good, consistent play. Teams relatively new to the sport will try sending the ball over the net before the third touch in order to throw their opponents off. We maintained in our system, improvised when out of system, and tried our best to be good, consistent players.

Coach Hamiter kept our heads calm and our focus sharp. Captain Duda placed the ball on the opponent’s real estate several powerful times, which raised excitement and typically would be followed by several residually exciting points for the US.

It was interesting watching the fear in the eyes of the Mexican players every time J Dee was set. As our undisputed hardest hitter, J Dee had several powerful points that could have made even the novice spectator realize the kinetic force that lies atop his Herculean shoulder.

The rookies, Thomas and Rejy, had a great match tonight as well. They each earned several points for team USA; and most of them in key plays. Dan Regan, who not only keeps our spirits up in crass humor off the court, stepped up and delivered several well placed sets to J Dee and Eric tonight when a pass would travel out of our system. I had a couple more blocks tonight and a couple of middle kills.

We won the match in 3 sets and now look forward to competing against the host country, Costa Rica, tomorrow. Unfortunately, our team captain, Eric Duda, will be returning to the US tomorrow for professional commitments, but we gain season veteran, Edgar LaForest. Edgar has seniored the sport for greater than 10 years and thus will add valuable experience to the remaining squad.

The Mexican team is a group full of eager athletes that all embody good sportsmanship. There were a lot of under then net fist bumps and compliments, despite language barriers, going both ways throughout the match. I do not think I am out of turn saying we are fans of the Mexican team. They even requested we get beer after the match; a request we respectfully declined citing our appreciating for wanting to stay clear headed and physiologically unhindered. It matters not that several of us wanted to, but we mentioned rescheduling for potentially after the tournament in Saturday. They unanimously agreed to it.

Tonight we again played for Boston. We wore our red uniforms with our black bands over our left chest- closest to our hearts and flag to honor the citizens of a city who was horribly attacked. Our efforts and thoughts are yours, Boston. Stay strong. You inspire us.

Charles F. Swearingen, BS, NREMTP, FPC
Flight Paramedic; OU MediFlight
#13 United States National Volleyball Team