Sitting Blog: Italy Makes U.S. Players Feel at Home

By Charlie Swearingen | July 11, 2018, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
The U.S. Men's Sitting Team plays Italy on an outdoor court
The U.S. Men's Sitting National Team plays Italy on a court in Rotonda.

U.S. Men's Sitting Team player and Paralympian Charlie Swearingen is blogging about the team's travel as it prepares for the Sitting World Championships in Netherlands

Our first stop on this trip that culminates at the Sitting Volleyball World Championships is a tournament in Rotonda, Italy. Rotonda is a quaint little mountain town with narrow, cobblestone streets, friendly people, and unbelievable food. Tonight, we played in an outdoor venue where the entire town came to watch.

We played Italy in our first match. We played well during our morning practice and we carried that forward through the match tonight as our communication and togetherness married perfectly with our execution.

We have very good camaraderie with the Italian national team. They are a young program, but are passionate about advancing their sport and discipline. They are energetic and incredibly friendly. We don’t have that kind of relationship with every team. Although we may respect the level of a team, we are not always the best of friends. Luckily, the Italians are really good people who, upon our first meeting, immediately offered welcomes and Pringles. A man who shares their Pringles is a true friend – write that down.

Team USA came out guns blazing tonight shooting an insane 600% in the first two sets, and overall hit a stratospheric 400% for the match. For two sets, we held their hitting to zero as our defense was running on all cylinders. In fact, we bested Italy in the first set by earning a 100% side out percentage.

David Dantes, a team statistician, penned the numbers for the US today. He reports our service tonight was on point and we took care of the ball well in serve receive and transition. Dantes explains, “Watching practice, you know, it can seem messy due to complexity of the game and errors made while working on new plays. It was great to see the team come together. The game looked simplified as the team made it look easy tonight.”

We practice later tomorrow and are excited to take the court to and continue to work on our game. As always, it’s an honor to represent the US and we all are looking forward to more play tomorrow in Italy. Tomorrow, we’ll head to Matera, the official Italian town for tourism this year. We’ll post more on that trip later