Blog Charlie Swearingen in Costa Rica No 3

By Charlie Swearingen | April 19, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)
The U.S. Men's Sitting Volleyball Team in Costa Rica
From left, Thomas Davis (7), J.Dee Marinko (18), Rejy Bacchus, Dan Regan (2) and Charlie Swearingen (13) of the U.S. Men's
Sitting Volleyball 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 18, 2013) – You know, driving isn't the only transportation peril in foreign countries. Being a pedestrian is an emotional and physical roller coaster, as evidenced by the country of Costa Rica.

As I mentioned yesterday, the street is only 2.5 narrow lanes wide, so you'd think crossing the row would be a simple task. Multiple times in a short walk, you may see your life flash before your eyes as you are almost run down by a motorcyclist manifesting out of thin air. You wouldn't think a moped is dangerous, but these Costa Rican drivers can turn those little vehicles into mini- missiles targeting the wayward pedestrian like some sort of smart bomb. Again, traveling in foreign countries is quite the experience. 

As we entered into our last day of pool play, we were in good spirits. With the city of Boston still on our minds, we found a good flow among the banter and team interaction today. We are a pretty close team, but today has been a good one. We enjoyed our timeless ritual of teasing and demeaning each other as the price for group humor and laughter. Even Coach Hamiter got in on the action adding some well-placed one liners and assisting to protect the rookies when the veterans would get a little too aggressive. 

Tonight we were without our team captain, but don't worry Duda, we will carry on the enthusiastic precedence you set. No secret to our game plan tonight: stay consistent. The rookies, Rejy and Thomas, seemed to have replaced anxiety with excitement filling last night’s good playing on their part. Rejy said he was excited about getting set tonight and wanting to connect on a good swing. It's a good thing to see a player develop and, as a relatively new player to the game myself, I can attest that it feels good to develop. While I still have lots to work on, we are still invigorated by the rookies’ excitement. 

Our team played consistently and we succeeded in earning a top seed and advance to the semifinals tomorrow.

Coach Hamiter led us into battle tonight by taking the court and playing setter. His knowledge of the game was illuminated multiple times. In one particular instance, J Dee served right into the hands of a blocker and Hamiter slides about 4 feet to save the block and earn us a point: it was a great read.

J Dee brought down the rain and even stopped play when a lightning strike of a swing came to a blinding halt on the face of a Costa Rican player. Play was halted for approximately 5 minutes before replacing the player and giving him a well-deserved break. We gave him a strong ovation as he crawled off the course. J Dee, whose heart is as big as Oklahoma, felt bad for the hit and later hugged the poor guy. I'm convinced the player was still seeing 3 J Dees, but worked hard to hug the one in the middle.

Major props go out to Rejy and Thomas for earning point after point tonight. These two executed good and well-placed swings, showing the promise in these two athletes. Dan Regan had multiple blocks and middle swings and one hell of a left-side tool (mom, this means intentionally hitting the opponents hand with the ball in an attempt to deflect the ball out of bounds- love you). I had an awesome time on account of some decent swings and a couple of serve aces. 

Again, we played well together tonight. We sure did miss Duda and tried to make him proud by playing our best. We had fun tonight and as long as we make it safely back without hitting any pedestrians, then we will get some rest and begin preparing for our semifinal match tomorrow. 

Stay strong, Boston. We earned a semifinal berth in your honor. We are still displaying our black bands. 

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