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April Ross: Learning And Growing In Rio

By April Ross, 2012 Olympic Beach Volleyball Silver Medalist | Feb. 28, 2015, 2:12 a.m. (ET)

Arggggh! It is so hard to describe what I’m feeling right now. We just finished “pool play,” where we played each Brazilian team once in a game to 21 points. Our record is not stellar — we went one and three — but I’m so stoked on how we played for the most part! And I had so much fun! And that’s why I’m conflicted. I HATE losing; it crushes me and these loses will eat at me until I have a chance to avenge them, they will drive and motivate me for months, and that, I’m thankful for, but I also had so much fun playing each one.

I almost feel bad for having fun, like you should only enjoy it if you win. I know that’s not necessarily true, but that’s how it’s been for me in the past...I’m going to have to think about it more (maybe another blog post later). The point is, despite the losses, we’ve been having a great time on the court, giving it our all and growing as a team.

The first set yesterday was against “the sisters” Maria Clara and Carol. We started down, went up, then it was even and we battled to the end, falling 19-21. The second set was against Maria Elisa and Juliana. We came out on fire, served better than we did in the first set and won handily, 21-13. At the end of the first day we were really happy with our progression. We figured out what didn’t work against the sisters, things that we had control over changing, and executed those changes successfully in the second.

I saw a quote today that I really like: “I never lose, I either win, or I learn.” And that’s exactly how it went.

Today I thought we were poised to get two more wins. We improved yesterday and were ready to keep up that trend. I actually think we did, just still made a few too many errors in our first set against Agatha and Barbara and lost 19-21. The good news is that it was in our hands. Kerri and I adjusted on the fly after going down 13-9 and actually came back to tie it up at 14s. We made some plays, set ourselves up for points and just missed by centimeters. And those shots will come — we’ve only been training for a month. Still lots of good things from that set.

Our last set was against Larissa and Talita, a match-up that hadn’t happened yet, so we were definitely looking forward to it. And at least we gave the crowd what they paid for. It was a really exciting back and forth battle that went into overtime with the advantage changing hands several times before they pulled it out, 26-24. What I would have given to have two more sets.

As hard as it was to lose those three sets, we have taken away so much information about ourselves, where we are as a team, and what we need to work on from these games. It’s really been invaluable. I wish we could have these events monthly, leading up to the World Tour season.

In addition, the atmosphere at this event has been pretty awesome, especially when we played Larissa and Talita. Not a lot of fans cheering for us, as to be expected, but they were loud and passionate. It felt electric under the lights and I love picturing being here for the Olympics next year. Being in Brazil on Copacabana Beach, in the warm weather, with enthusiastic fans, makes competing really fun. And thankfully we get another chance to compete tomorrow. We play Agatha and Barbara for the bronze medal at high noon. It’s gonna be a hot one, but super focused on correcting what went wrong in our first meeting and playing our hearts out for the win! 

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April Ross

Beach Volleyball