Last week was a roller coaster. Winning away on Sunday 3-0 to start the semifinals vs. Katrineholm then back to back 5 game losses. Tonite we play at home for semifinal #4 at home in front of all the people who have stood behind this program and watched it grow in the last two years as I have, what better place to perform than at home in Lindesberg.
Watch it online 7pm Swedish time at http://www.volleykanalen.se
This is my second season with Lindesberg Volley and I have seen a lot of history written in this short amount of time. I have always said celebrate the tiny victories because then you are thankfully working your way up to bigger victories. I am ready to celebrate a big victory but in order to do that we have more tiny victories ahead, starting at home vs. Katrineholm.
In someone else’s words I perfectly and I just wanted to share them..
Our team and our season has been on my mind all constantly. A free weekend isn’t always a non-volleyball one when its on your brain. I was looking forward to a weekend where volleyball was a very distant thought and my time was consumed with other fun and relaxing things. But uggghhhhh……..I couldn’t stop thinking about our series with Katrineholm and how we need to be in the finals!! Maybe it’s because it was a crummy weather weekend or because Lindesberg is so boring that I had nothing else to occupy my mind, but mostly I think it’s because this team has too much damn potential not to be in the finals next week! I really believe that, even after dropping two 5 game matches to Katrineholm.
I honestly love this group of girls, I love the type of games where things are really on the line, and I CAN wait to get back to the States…..I’m excited for it, but I am definitely not ahead of myself and I want to fill this last month up with lots of volleyball! The reason I care so much this season playing this season is because Linde Volley is much different than my other volleyball experiences have been, and I have been somewhat reserved in my excitement about playing.
Athletics in high school in the States is much different than it is here, and perhaps even more so in a small town like I grew up in. We watched the high school teams as young kids and couldn’t wait to be like them, and when we had the four years to compete for our school, there was so much school spirit and so much pride because there was a whole commnity of people cheering you on. Then in college, although I wasn’t so closely connected to the community like I was in high school, I had the fortune of playing at a school where another type of community was built around athletics. We had great conditioning programs, treatment facilities, academic tutors, chartered flights to our matches all over the country, and a whole array of other sports that made it really exciting to be a Gorilla, Sun Devil, Buffalo, or Buccaneer!;) Then the beach game is just a different experience all together. There was no longer that school spirit energy or the joy that comes from being part of a team but there was a different (and very fun) type of community to be a part of. And what I loved about beach is being on the court and having to work with all the skills…..serving, passing, setting, hitting, blocking, defense.
So it was quite different to come to Sweden and in some cases have a whopping total of 20 people at away matches (all of whom were strangers) and not have a very enthusiastic sports environment in those gyms. It has been challenging for me at times to accept that as a middle blocker my touches are less than I would love and my position on the team keeps me off the court half the time. With all that being said, I have just been enjoying this experience for what it is…….with all the differences it offers compared to my previous volleyball experiences, for the new friendships I’ve been fortunate to gain, and for the ability to live in and learn a bit from the country! But a fun thing has happened in the playoffs for me……it truly means more to be a part of Linde Volley, and I feel a community of support behind us!! I’ve really enjoyed playing this whole season, and I’ve always wanted to win, but lately I feel like our success is truly enjoyed by a larger group than just us, and our disappointments are suffered by others as well. It is the hardest thing in the world to look into our fans eyes and see them disappointed, we drive 2 hours to play and some of the fans look more worn out after 5 games of cheering and support than we do. This isn’t to say that because we are fortunate enough to have over 500 fans at our last match (and hopefully 3 others to come), that we must put on a show for them or that now all of a sudden we have something new to play for……we play for each other and the love of the game and all that includes……but I really feel like we can use that energy to our advantage! Let’s use the crowd and the energy in Tuesday night’s match to take us to our best level. And there’s a similar energy in Katrineholm so we can use it there as well.
I am convinced of is our TEAM’s drive and ability to win. If we can harness all that we have going for us and use it when it matters (which is start to finish!) I really believe we can be the team getting gold medals hung around our necks in a few weeks. Let’s use every time out and every sub in and out of the game to renew that spirit in each other. No matter what happens in timeouts and breaks between games, let’s walk back onto the court and walk back to the sidelines ready to put out that fearless, defensive, badass energy!! We’ve been through a lot as a team and as individuals this year, and I don’t think any of us are ready to be done with this season. This month will be so boring if we’re not playing;) We’ve responded in the past when our season (or the Nordic championships) are on the line…..let’s do it again!!! GO LV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!