We just finished competing in the NORCECA tournament in Caguas, Puerto Rico. We went undefeated and won the tournament, which also won us a spot in the World Cup, the first opportunity to qualify for the Olympics. The team is really coming together and we are looking forward to our last tournament of year three of this quad. World Cup doesn’t start until the end of October, so we were lucky enough to score a week long break.
I haven’t been home since April. Home for me is Leland, Michigan. I grew up in a very small town, but the perk of small towns is the community feel. I go home and am greeted with so much love, not only from my immediate family, but community members that follow my career and support every step of my journey.
My mom is a high school volleyball coach and even coached me in high school, so it was fun to see her team play and interact with the players. My mom is an amazing coach and through volleyball, teaches the girls on her team life lessons. It’s amazing to see the young girls committed to the team and to her. I think it’s so important for young athletes to commit to working hard and to developing relationships with their teammates and coaches.
Getting a break from volleyball was also nice! Small towns are great for having unique restaurants. I crave this cherry chicken salad sandwich on an amazing herb bread from Sisson’s Main Street Specialties. If you ever find yourself in Leland Michigan, make sure you get one! I had lunch there with my grandparents and two of our dear family friends.
I also got to see my niece Lilly, who technically isn’t my niece because she’s my cousin’s daughter, but because my cousin and I are like sisters, I will always be Aunt Alisha to Lilly. We might be biased, but we consider her one of the cutest babies around.
My trip home had to be productive, because the next time I’m home, I’ll be getting ready for my season in Poland. Last year I was in Brazil and with living in California, most of my wardrobe is geared towards warm weather. I went shopping for sweaters, jackets, boots, hats, etc. I’m not a fan of being cold, even though I’m from Michigan. I’ve also been checking out the gear in the new Mizuno volleyball catalogue for some warmer gear to train in. I’m a big fan of the ¾ Warm Up Tights, and also of the Maverick Warm Up Top. I think I’ll also need a Mizuno Hoody to help keep me warm!
So much will be happening in the next couple months between World Cup and Poland, the finishing of one season and the start of another. Each brings different focuses and challenges. I’m reminded every time I go home, that what I get to do for a living right now, is so different from the norm. I’m blessed to be in a position to travel the world and play the sport I love. I look back on the hard work and sacrifices that it took to get where I am today, and I’m grateful I had the support of a great community and family in order to make the dream a reality.