May 16, 2000
Our first day of competition! Taping and treatment begins in the
trainer’s room at the hotel beginning at 6:30 a.m. with the players having
assigned times to be taken care of. Breakfast is downstairs in the hotel.
It is a buffet and people are swarming everywhere. It reminds us of a
dormitory cafeteria. The bus leaves at 8:00 a.m. for the hour drive to the
hall (gymnasium). We arrived dressed and ready to play. Warm up is
supposed to start at 9:30 a.m., but we are there at 9:00 a.m. to get in our
usual warm up routine.
We get to play on a “tartan” floor. It is the same floor surface
used in the Olympic Games. We play a team called “Olymp Prague”. They are
a top team in the Czech League. We play five games, the first four games
are rally scoring to 25 points and the fifth game is to 15 points. The
scores are 13-25, 18-25, 14-25, 22-25 and 11-15. It wasn’t bad considering
our schedule the past week and no practice.
We finish playing around noon and the girls shower and we are off
to an area to eat lunch and shop. Three of us have a nice lunch at the
Hotel Praha and the rest of the group runs to McDonalds. Our guide takes
us to a jewelry store (no purchases) and then we got to the “crystal
store”. We absolutely clean the place out. Most of us leave with at least
one full bag of heavy glass.
We are now ready for our second match of the day. We dress for the
contest in the moving bus. The trainer is taping ankles as we weave
through the cobblestone roads. We arrive at the gym with enough time to
let the team close their eyes for a few minutes before we start our
warm-up. We play a team called “TJ Tartan”. We win the first game 32-30
in a thriller. The other scores were 18-25, 20-25 and 22-25. Some of the
different international rules include a serve that hits the net and falls
in the court is good, there are unlimited substitutions, and others.
We leave the gym at 9:00 p.m. and return to the hotel. The team
has to wash their own uniforms in their room and they have dinner in one of
three restaurants. Some of us met outside in the courtyard and had pizza
and told stories. It was a full day of volleyball and shopping and we look
forward to the same thing tommorrow!