The day began like any other: breakfast followed by some blogging and reading before meeting with Adam and Niki to go to lunch at Holsten's. The sun was bright and shiny, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky--a rare occurrence for Hungarian winter. We all deduced that this was a good sign, believing it meant that we would be victorious in tonight's match against MAV. The lunch was great, as usual. We talked about local sports teams; I told them about the previous night's NFL playoff games, having to stop and explain various rules here and there. Once we all finished our meals, we decided we would go to the Csaba Center for some coffee. There, we chatted about the different costs of iPhones and other technologies from Hungary to America; Niki really wants an iPhone, so I think I might have to work some American-magic, maybe introduce her to CraigsList and eBay. The afternoon was full of comparisons between life in America and life in Europe, more specifically Hungary. Finally, we headed back to the university campus so I could rest up before the match.
We headed to the gym around 3:00 to get our pregame massages from Kata. Everyone was really anxious to play and memories of Friday's loss lingered in our minds. We were determined to not make those same mistakes again. Once out in the gym, we danced and laughed, trying to remain relaxed. Toncsi had made a warmup CD, with mostly American songs, allowing me to share with the girls my American Idol-worthy singing and dance moves. We all became focused as the warmups began; channeling our physical energies into mental preparation. The first set we struggled, MAV's defense proving to be too much for our attackers, losing 18-25. The second set, we played much more smoothly, finding our groove towards the end. We won 25-20. The third set was similar to the previous one and we came out swinging from every angle, forcing our opponents to make changes in their defense, winning 25-17. At 20-11, we were feeling strong sense of deja vu, as the scores were eerily similar to that from Friday. MAV started a run of points on us, bringing the score closer (21-17); fortunately, we all had the same sense of urgency in the fourth set, refusing to accept defeat. With a long rally, we finally were able to end the match, securing victory with a score of 25-21. WINNER WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER!
Everyone was all smiles after the match, glad we were able to start our home matches 1-0. Post-game, we had a team meeting with Attila where he gave us the weekly statistics. Everyone had a few areas where we could improve our overall play. After a somewhat somber discussion, we had some cake for Kicsi's birthday! Talk about a picker-upper. That evening, I went upstairs to Barbi's room to play hair salon. She and I talked about the match, still excited about the turn-around from Friday. She, and the other girls in university, would be off from school for the next week or so, and were all glad for this much needed rest after their examinations. I dyed her hair while watching the Bears-Seahawks game, taking time to explain the different means of scoring. Football is such a normal part of my life, it always blows my mind when people don't know the rules, but I guess even in the States, some of my friends are uninformed. Finally the game ended, and I headed back to my room to call it a night.