June 12, 2011
A blog from China by sophomore middle blocker Mary Kurisch.
Well, we're all settled in here in China, but we still get tired pretty fast due to some jet lag. Yesterday we had a practice and then a banquet. We practiced at the place where we play later tonight. It is a large arena in a fenced-in college in Shandong. After practice we all got dressed up for the banquet because there were some Chinese government officals attending.
The banquet started with some appitizers and some speeches. The officials spoke Chinese and then a translator followed so we could understand what they were saying. They talked about how this is the first-ever youth tournament for volleyball between USA teams and teams from China.
After the banquet was done we all went to the theater in the hotel and people from around Shandong performed; it was like a talent show. There were many performers, some sang and others danced. My favorite performance was the wushu martial arts performance. The kids who did the martial arts did gymnastic moves and had swords too. When the show was over we called it a night.
Sunday morning we got up and went to a vegatable garden. This was very interesting. Inside greenhouses there were plants growing everywhere, even from the ceilings (like tomatoes and pumpkins). They also had statues made out of corn, beans, pumpkins and other vegetables. The statues were in the shapes of dragons, birds, rabbits and a big boat. The detail of these statues was incredible, they must have spent a lot of time making them.
After the garden we went to have another serve and pass before our game tonight. After serve and pass we came back and had some time to relax at the hotel. Before our game we had opening ceremonies. They introduced important people who helped prepare for and make this tournament happen. When we arrived at the gym it was packed! And everyone was cheering for us when we walked in. There were so many people that came to watch us play. I have never played in front of a crowd that big. It was awesome!
The crowd also had drums that they would bang on when the Chinese teams would score, but they would also clap and cheer for us when we got points as well. We played the Shandong Normal University team and we won in three games. Then the other USA team played and lost to the Fujian team in four. After the games the girls from the Chinese teams wanted to take pictures with us and say hello. The game was so much fun, I am excited to play again tomorrow night!
Until next time...
If you have any questions, comments or concerns for Mary, please e-mail Volleyball SID Zach Peters (firstname.lastname@example.org).