We are in the heart of our season right now with several back to back tournaments. After leaving Boulder, I went home for 2 days before leaving for Chicago. I went out early because I had the opportunity to coach a few clinics at Montrose Beach.
I had an interesting trip out there. First, I was running late, as usual. My friend, Jamie, picked me up to take me to the airport. We got to the freeway when I realized I forgot my phone. I knew I couldn't live without it for 12 days on the road, so we turned back to get it. I got to the airport 45 minutes before my flight, but by the time it was my turn to check my bag, I had missed the cutoff by 2 minutes. My bags were small, so I decided to take them with me on board. I got through security and only had to throw out a few things like toothpaste and hair spray. Once I got to the gate, just in time to board, I was told that I could not bring two carry-ons on the plane with me. I had to check one of my bags. I was thinking, "Make up your mind!" So I checked the bigger of the two, the same bag that was lost coming home from Boulder which was returned to me just in the nick of time. Frustrated that I had to throw out my toothpaste and hair products for nothing, I boarded that plane and got comfy.
I arrived around the time the Cubs were finishing their game. I stayed in Wrigleyville with some good friends, Billy and Kathy, from the Ixtapa trip. My cab driver could not get me to their house because of the blocked roads, so I got out with all my luggage and walked. I got some interesting looks as I walked, luggage in tow, along the busy streets past the bars filled with Cubs fans.
The next day, I had some free time to sleep in and get everything together that I would need for the weekend. I found a Whole Foods (which I think should sponsor me for as much money and time as I spend in their stores across the country!) I did three newspaper interviews, one radio show interview, and then got in a light workout before I coached a clinic that evening. It was fun to meet some new people and get them excited about the tournament coming to town.
Thursday, I got up early for a CBS morning news show appearance at the site of the tournament. After that, I stayed to help "coach/cheer" on my friends in the qualifier. Tony Akers, my long lost brother who is no relation at all, played with Jim Sias (team Cuervo leader extraordinaire). They met for the first time an hour before their match and pulled out a very entertaining and competitive performance. It was really fun to watch.
After that, I went to X-Sport Fitness Club for an appearance with Real Water. We did our best to promote the water and inform people of why Real Water is not JUST water. It was a nice visit and then we went to Whole Foods, of course.
Holly arrived in the later afternoon, so we planned to practice at the site around 5pm. I had made the trip to the site a few times that week, each time taking 10-15 minutes. I did not realize that the Cubs game let out at 4:30 right when I was trying to catch a cab. I walked around trying to get someone to stop, but by 4:45 no luck. My friends called and just happened to be driving by so they picked me up and offered to drive me down there. Not only was the game letting out, but a huge storm was getting closer. Traffic was inching along and the rain was getting harder and harder. We made it to Lake Shore Drive and went about a mile in 20 minutes. We started seeing enormous lightning bolts. I knew we should not be practicing in the storm, but we still tried to get there. After an hour and still not there yet, I got a text from Holly saying turn around. I did not get to practice, but that was okay.
Jeremy and I stopped in to say hello to a few friends and then made our way to, you guessed it, Whole Foods. We grilled out at Billy and Kathy's and then went to bed early.
Friday, we played our first round match at 9:45 versus Guerra/Ruen. We played terrible. Everything was out of sync. We won in 3 sets, but it was not pretty.
Our next match, we played Mason/Kropp. We played much better in that match. We served tough, we passed and set well, we controlled our side of the net. That was the key for us. That was our last match on Friday. We would come back on Saturday morning to play May-Treanor/Walsh.
Our next match versus Misty/Kerri started out really well. We traded sideouts with them for awhile before they turned it up a notch. They do not make mistakes.... EVER. In my opinion, in order to beat them, you have to be willing to take chances. Sometimes those chances pay off and sometimes they result in errors. That day, our chances resulted in errors. We lost in 2 sets.
That was our first loss, but we were still alive. We had to wait a few hours before our next match because of the men's final. We played Fendrick/Roca later in the day. Unfortunately for us, we did not play well and they did. We had trouble in our sideout game and did not convert some crucial plays. We lost 19-17 in the third set. Talk about a heart-breaker.
Two weeks in a row, our tournaments have ended in heart-breaking losses to teams that we know we can and should beat. That wears on you. I know we can bounce back and I plan to do that this weekend in Brooklyn.
Sunday after the tournament, I could not bring myself to go to the site to watch. Instead, I went to the Cubs game with my family and several friends. We had a great time! It was a much needed escape from volleyball.
I stayed in Chicago until Tuesday. Jeff Nygaard, John Mayer, and I coached another clinic on Monday at Montrose Beach. It was a great turnout. We plan to do it again next year.
Now I am in New Jersey at Aurora Fitness Centers with my friend, Vito. He always spoils me when I come to town, so of course I love to visit! We are riding in his RPM cycling class tonight and will probably get our butts kicked! Then we head to Brooklyn tomorrow to get ready for the tournament.
After Brooklyn, we have two California events back-to-back. It will be nice to sleep in my own bed again.
That's all for now... more after this weekend. Thanks for reading!