July 7, 2012
A blog from China by senior middle blocker Mary Kurisch.
Initial Release | July 5
It's Mary blogging again from China! I enjoyed my trip to China so much last year that when I got asked to go back I signed right up! Just like last year, there are two teams of 12 girls each. An All-Star Team and a Select Team. Unlike last year, some of the girls on the All-Star Team have played professional volleyball overseas in Europe for a couple of years. It is so interesting to talk with them and ask them questions about where they have played and their favorite parts about being a professional volleyball player in Europe!
It's Friday here, and we arrived three days ago. The flight was a long one -- it took us about 13 hours from Anaheim, Calif., to Seoul, Korea. When we got to Seoul we went through customs and then boarded buses for about 45 minutes to another airport. We then took a two hour flight into Beijing, China. After we landed in Beijing, we all loaded a bus and drove 2 hours to Tianjin, another city in China.
As soon as we got to the hotel, we unloaded our stuff and checked into our rooms. After checking in we were brought a snack of a McDonald's Big Mac and a can of Coke to have before practice. Ironic that our first meal in China was a McDonald's Big Mac, not to mention it was the first one I've ever had!
We were all thinking about what our coaches would say if they knew that our pre-practice meal consisted of a Big Mac! Then, we had our first practice and our Select Team beat the All-Stars!
After that, we worked on serving and passing. After the practice we went back to the hotel for dinner, and then after a long day and 20 hours of travel, we got to sleep!
On Wednesday, we got up and went on a boat ride on the HaiHe River through part of Tianjin. The boat ride was about 30 minutes long and we got to see some buildings in the city.
After the boat ride we went to a market. This market had Chinese souvenirs for sale as well as candy shops for us to look in. After about an hour of shopping at the market we went back to the hotel for lunch and then headed to practice again.
At practice we again scrimmaged against the All-Star Team and we won again! After the scrimmage we worked more on our defense and blocking to prepare for our first game.
When we returned from our practice we all got dressed up to go to our welcome banquet. We went to a very nice banquet hall for dinner. When we arrived there were many Chinese people waiting for us to get off the bus. When we got inside they had us all sign a big poster and some volleyballs. After we got to our seats they introduced all the coaches and some people made speeches. We ate while they had some people perform on stage for entertainment. After the welcome banquet we called it a day.
On Thursday, both teams had their first matches. My team, the Select Team, played at 3:30 PM while the All-Star team played at 7:30 PM. Before our games in the morning we got to go on a horse carriage ride through part of Tianjin. We rode past many of the government buildings where there was security guarding the homes of important government officials from Tianjin. Then we went to a museum. Unfortunately we only had about 15 minutes to walk around so we didn't have much time to learn about the culture.
When we arrived back at the hotel we ate lunch and then had an hour to relax before our game. In playing international volleyball some of the rules are different and the way both teams warm up is different. For example, both teams hit both ways at the same time which takes some getting used to. One of the rules that is different is that if the ball hits the ceiling it is considered out of bounds and the play is over. After warm ups we heard both the Chinese and the U.S. national anthems and then we began to play.
This was our first game in China and I think as a team we let our nerves get to us. We lost the match in three sets but we learned a lot about how the Chinese play differently than us. After our match we got to watch the All-Star match against the home team of Tianjin. Tianjin's volleyball team is very good, they were extremely scrappy and hardly ever let a ball drop. Our All-Star team played well but lost the match in three games as well. We play Tianjin's team tomorrow so it was to our advantage that we got to see them play.
We are excited to play again and to be less nervous playing in a different country. It is such a great experience to be playing in a jersey that says USA on the back!
Well that's all I have for now! Thanks for reading!
If you have any questions, comments or concerns for Mary, please e-mail Volleyball SID Zach Peters (email@example.com).