Hello Mizuno People,
It has been a crazy couple of months. Coming back from Poland and starting training with the National team has been quite the whirlwind. I got to go home, and if you’ve read my previous blogs, I got to have my favorite sandwich from Sisson’s Main Street Specialties. I’ve tried to explain how wonderful it is, but maybe this will help. While I was in Poland, I experimented with being a vegetarian, or more specifically a Pescatarian. My reasons for the change weren’t typical. I used to be a very picky eater and I was never particularly excited about protein sources like beef, chicken, pork. I liked them, but mostly the reason for me eating them was to get the protein we athletes need. Through being a vegetarian, I’ve learned to like fish more, and I’ve found many other protein sources that I can incorporate into my diet that I never thought about before, like putting black beans and nuts into a salad, or making dishes with quinoa. So back to the sandwich, I hadn’t eaten any meat until I got back home and I thought about missing out on that sandwich, and I decided that it was too good to miss out on, so I ate it and it was WONDERFUL!!
After home, I flew out to Anaheim and got started training. The first couple weeks are always unusual because we are all trickling in from our various countries. We haven’t seen anyone in six months and it’s great to catch up and also show the progress we’ve made as players. We had comfort in our time getting back into the swing of things because we had already qualified; it’s the way to go. However, we felt a little anxiety for the men who needed to qualify, but were trickling in just like us. Fortunately, their first chance to qualify was on our own turf. They played the qualifier in The Pyramid and Long Beach State. It’s so fun to have an International tournament in America. People showed their support and the guys had some pretty good crowds, especially for the finals. They used that to their advantage and were able to qualify. It was so fun to watch! It was also great to see Emily Adams Knight and Brynn Murphy from Mizuno.
Now that both National Teams have qualified, we can focus on becoming the best team that we both can be. We have to be good on the court, but this year we’ve done some things that will help us come together off the court. We got a visit from a couple of War Veterans and a member of our National Sitting Women’s Volleyball team. One of the War Veterans was severely wounded and lost his sight. Hearing all of their stories, about their pride in representing our country and selfless service, it makes you realize that in a different way, we are doing the same thing. We have to represent our country at the Olympics and it makes it more powerful when you hear other people’s personal accounts doing the same, just on a different level. It was an emotional day, but I think it really had a huge impact on us.
We have one major tournament left before the Olympics – The Grand Prix. It will be an opportunity for the team to improve, and also a time for player’s to prove themselves worthy of making that 12 person roster that will go to London. It’s a pretty stressful time. It’s what the last three summers have been about; it’s what we’ve been working towards. There is so much time put in and so many sacrifices made. No matter what happens, everyone will have played their own part and made an impact somehow. Whether it’s being a starter, or being that player that potentially doesn’t get to go to London, it makes the people around them better just by battling everyday. It takes the entire group focused on one common goal -to be the best USA team we can be. It’s a powerful thing.