Happy fall my beautiful people! Once again, pretty crazy to think almost 4 weeks have gone by since my last blog post. Not much has been happening over here except for lots of volleyball…but what else is new! Finally starting league play has made the time pass even faster.
The Korean “V-League” is set up into six rounds, because there are only 6 teams total in the league. So we hypothetically have six rounds of five matches each (although in our first round we only played 4 matches). At the end of each round they choose an MVP and there is also a MVP for each match. Hard to believe we are already finished with the first round of matches in a short 11 days and part way into the second.
Our team has been slightly up and down in the past few weeks. We’ve had moments of glory, and not so glorious moments, so we are working to string together good points and prepare for each teams strengths and weaknesses. To give you a quick summary:
Game 1 – Career high 38 points, 440 kill percentage, game high scorer
I wasn’t nervous walking into our first match. More little butterflies I suppose but I had no idea what the atmosphere was going to be like once I got on the court. I was walking into the gym and the senior player on my team told me she wanted to tell me something. She has so much experience in the game and I have so much respect for her as a player, but I could not have imagined what she was about to say. She told me when she was 30 she retired, and she had decided years later to come back. She said that it was a similar place in her career as I was in. I had never really thought about it that way but it had been over a year and a half since I had really competed and it didn’t hit me until then, She said, “just play.”
We began our season with a tough five loss to Hyundai. We were up two sets to none and dropped the next three. We opened in front of 4,500 fans in our home gym and my heart did not stop racing for the entire first set. I have never played in front of a crowd like that in my entire career. Intense was not enough to describe the atmosphere or energy coming off the fans. And that was on top of how unexpectedly emotional it was being back for me. I looked back in my journal when writing this post and found this about our first game,
“When people ask you what makes you come alive…This does. It’s 1 am and I am beyond exhausted but my soul is burning fiery passion right now, so much I can’t sleep. Three months of work and all is right with the world. My soul is the most alive.”
Game 2: 15 points, 300 kill percentage
Our first away match in Seoul vs. GS. We came in rocking the first set and everything seemed to slowly melt away as sets 2-4 went on, and we lost in four sets. I realized how much of an impact I have on the team and how important, and expected it is to perform night in and night out. I was surprised with gifts and treats from fans after the match. And I’ll have to say macarons make losing just a liiiittttle easier. But it is so cool to see that our team has fans at every match we go to, home or away…and I love getting little surprises after the games 🙂
Game 3: 35 points, 7 blocks, game high scorer, blocker
Back to the drawing board at a slightly defeating 0-2 record to the start the season. We prepared, and I focused on taking it one game at a time. We had ANOTHER unfortunate 5-setter to Pink Spiders, after being up at least 3 in the fifth and 4 back to back solo blocks to start the set. Are you starting to see a trend here? The league is so evenly matched it could be anyone’s game any night of the week. It depends on who shows up, and although the better teams are definitely emerging, we have lost fivers to both of the top two teams that could have easily gone our way. At the end of this match, I felt so just blah and ready for a win. Highlights from the Pink Spiders loss from last week HERE
Game 4: 34 points, 450 kill %, game high scorer
FINALLY! A four set win vs. IBK, league champions from last year and the team that Hi Pass lost to in the playoffs last season. We served tough and came out road warriors with our first win. It definitely gave some confidence back to the team, which we really needed after an 0-3 start. Highlights from the IBK win HERE.
Game 5: 30 points, 500 kill%, game high scorer, MVP
We strung together two wins to start off the second round of V-League with GS who we had played about a week before. It’s definitely a different dynamic playing teams multiple times because you really get to know the players, and the teams get to know you. Sooo, when you’re getting set as much as the foreign players are here you HAVE to find ways to score points, because your team is counting on you just as much as when you played that team for the first time. Luckily for me I had a sub-par performance against GS when we played them in the first round and so I definitely was back with a little extra fire. Our tough serving once again helped us to a 4-set win (As exciting as five-setters can be it’s always nice on your body to not have to go to five every match). I was so humbled to be awarded my first MVP award of the season this match. HERE is the link to the MVP highlight tape.
Game 6: 16 points, 330 kill %, tie game high scorer
After game 5 the real fun began as I was hit with 2 days of 102+ degree fevers, quaking chills and some mysterious “abdominal virus” aka possibly stomach flu, possibly food poisoning that lasted for a solid 7 days. Luckily I had about 5 days to prepare for the next match, and I still was far from 100%. We got outplayed and swept by Hyundai (who we had lost to in 5 our first match of the season). Needless to say being sick did not help my cause, but lucky for us we had two days off after the match anyway.
My agent happened to be in town for a short trip and it wouldn’t have normally worked out that I would get to stay in Seoul for two days during season, but because we don’t play again until November 18, they made an exception for us. I got to spend some time in my favorite hotel, getting some much needed R&R on Monday after the match, and did some exploring on Tuesday. Thankfully I was finally able to start eating again Sunday night and by the time I got back to the gym Tuesday evening for curfew, I was almost back to normal.
We’ve spent this past week practicing and preparing for our upcoming match, and have Sunday off to relax after a tough week. I’m looking forward to playing again, 10 days off seemed like such a long time!
I know some of you have been having trouble watching the matches because the USA isn’t supported on the Korean websites. One way you can trick the system (for you tech savvy peeps out there) is to mask your IP address to a Korean one. There are many websites and applications that can help you do this. I use CyberGhost and TunnelBear here to use spotify. The matches are also uploaded to youtube after the fact, and I will try to continue to post highlights from the games.
On a more somber note, because I can’t post this on a day like today without making some mention of the state of our world at the moment. Because I choose to wear my rose colored sunglasses often…I usually avoid the daily news as not to see the latest shooting, bombing or bad thing going on. But these events were hard to ignore or avoid today. I want everyone who gets a chance to read this blog to take a moment to just be still. In light of the recent tragedy unfolding in Paris and ongoing tragedies in the Middle East, please just be grateful. We are all equals on this earth, and we are so fortunate. Most of us are (hopefully) personally unaffected by these tragedies, but that is not the case for so many people. These people could have been any of us, any of our family or friends, so please keep your hearts with them, and pray for peace in our world. Lots of love and light from Korea. XO