Sunday, September 18, 2011

Borås Cup Tournament

This weekend we had a cup-tournament thing in Borås, which is about 2 hours north from Ljungby. I have absolutely NO idea if the cup meant anything, exactly, but I do know trophies were handed out for 1st-3rd place so maybe it was important. Who knows? We took two 8-passenger mini-vans up: Lena drove our van, with Malin riding shotgun, Jo, Selma and I in the middle row, and Nata and Linn in the back. The 2-hour ride began around 8am taking us through the countryside – which I think is pretty much most of Sweden – but every now and then a random, small town would pop up. During the ride, Selma kept us all pretty entertained with various outbursts; Jo is keeping a “Selma Quote Sheet” with all of Selma’s random funny thoughts. For example: the entire drive up, Selma was drinking from Jo’s water bottle as Selma thought she had left hers at home. Upon realizing that it has slipped in the seat, she turns to Jo with the water bottle in her hand and says, “I think I am stupid”. As we continued driving, she pointed out the window to cows and says “look, Jo, its my family!” Don’t even ask her about eggs…
There were 3 courts: Men's Elite Series, Women's Elite Series, and Women's Division I
Finally arriving at the gym, the vans unload and everyone headed inside to get dressed for our first match. We had received our warm-ups (Puma jackets with a neck-side zipper and capris – although mine haven’t come in yet) at practice on Friday, but we would be wearing last year’s jerseys and spandex until the new ones arrive for season. The jerseys were light dry-fit and fairly comfortable while the spandex were made of EXTRA thin material complete with our sponsors’ ads covering the backside. Did I mention that they have a 1” in-seam? Let’s just say that everyone gets quite a show at our matches ;) We weren’t required to wear matching kneepads this weekend, but in the future we will be wearing the Euro-style black kneepads, and knee-high white socks. Dressed and ready, we headed out to the gym to begin warming up for the first match. We played against a team from Denmark who is in the Danish Elite Series – we won’t be playing them in regular season. Unfortunately, we lost this first match in 2; we all think we could have competed much better with them. I’m not sure if it was the drive, or just that we were a bit overwhelmed as a team by the tournament atmosphere; either way, rule #76 says: “no excuses, play like a champion”.  The 2nd match we lost in 3 to Lindesberg, the team that won the whole tournament. This was a much better turnaround from the previous match, as our serve receive and ball control greatly improved. Lindesberg finished 3rd last year in our division; we will be playing them this season. The coach for Lindesberg used to be an assistant coach at University of Miami (FL) when Jo and I were being recruited; he came up to both of us periodically during the weekend to ask us how we were adjusting the Sweden, so nice of him. The last match on Saturday we beat Halmstad (also in our division) in 3. After the last match, we had to ref before we were able to go check-in at the hotel and shower for dinner.

Lisa, Selma, and Nata waiting to check in at the Scandia Hotel
At dinner, I was feeling a bit chilly so I turned to Malin to ask her if she was cold also. She responded with “I’m always cold”; a fairly typical response, so I just accepted it and moved on, however, she started telling me this long story about how she used nasal spray almost every day for 2 years and that she had to go to the doctor to get her nose checked out. The doctor stuck a (here she fumbled to find the English word, so asked Jules for help) camera up her nose to check out her sinus cavities to see if there was a problem. The doctor just found that she is very dry, so she is no longer allowed to use the nasal spray or she gets really bad nosebleeds. Despite this, she constantly has a runny nose and sounds congested, and she picks her nose sometimes. You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this story and have a very confused look on your face, right? Well, I was wondering the exact same thing about Malin, and I finally just said to her, “maybe you should stop picking your nose”, then turned back to eating my dinner, feeling like I had not gotten an answer to my original question. Jo, who is sitting across from me at the table, helps clarify by saying “she thought you meant ‘cold’ (pretends to blow her nose) not ‘cold’ (rubs her shoulders)”. Malin and I turn to each other and start bursting out in laughter. Side note: Malin is usually the one who translates to Jo and I at practice, so its making me wonder if what she tells us is really what is being said. This cold/cold controversy spread around the table and has become quite a joke for our team. Next time, I’ll just ask, “Hey, Malin, are you hot?” Although she’ll probably say, “yeah, my boyfriend tells me all the time...”

Sunday, our first match was against Vordingborg (from Denmark), aka Tara’s team (Jo’s friend who we hung out with in Copenhagen) whom we beat in 2. We then had to wait a little over 4 hours to play the 5th place match against Halmstad – yes, the same team we had beaten in 3 the day before. Of course, the long break threw us off our volleyball-mojo and, despite valiant efforts in the 2nd set, we lost in 2, taking 6th place in the cup. After the match, Daniel (our coach) said that should be proud but not content with how we played and that we found some things we can work on and so overall this weekend was good. There were moments that we were able to hold everything together and play strongly and moments that exposed our weaknesses. Hopefully, the matches from this weekend can help motivate us to work hard in the upcoming practices.

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