Rachel Krabacher, All-American Lindsay Fletemier and Rachael Broerman tried out for Team USA last week
Our National Team tryout weekend started off early as we all woke up at around 4:30 a.m. for our early flights. Of course we all looked bright and chipper in the morning at the Dayton Airport. Rachael had a direct flight to Denver, but Lindsay and I had a connecting flight in Dallas. We were hardly functioning while boarding at 6:00 a.m. and then we realized that in three short days, we would be up and starting our first team practice at that exact time. Luckily, we didn’t have to think about that for very long as we both fell asleep for the entire flight. We arrived in Dallas, picked up a quick breakfast of smoothies, and boarded our second flight to Colorado Springs.
After taking our second nap of the day, Lindsay and I arrived at Colorado Springs and took a shuttle to the Olympic Training Center. Being in the training center was a really amazing experience. It’s crazy to think that athletes such as Michael Phelps have trained here in the same buildings that we were in. Not only this, but while the Olympics are going on there is so much support among the other athletes that are still training in the center. The torch on top of the main building remains lit all day and almost every television in the center is showing the amazing U.S. athletes competing in Vancouver.
Lindsay and I checked into the Athlete Center and picked up our ID cards, keys, lanyards, and meal cards. Immediately we began drinking lots and lots of water, almost more than our bodies could hold, to prevent the dehydration that more commonly occurs at the high altitude in Colorado Springs. We put all of our stuff into our three person dorm room and then were picked up by Rachael’s mom. Being from Colorado, she knew where the good restaurants were and took us to a sandwich place called Wooglies where we enjoyed sandwiches made on homemade bread and buns. After passing Rachael’s grade school on the way back to the OTC, Lindsay and I got ready for our first session (Rachael’s was later in the evening).
Arriving at the gym, looking beautiful in our new tryout shirts, Lindsay and I warmed up prior to the start of our tryout. Because of the altitude, Lindsay and I were already out of breath after a long pepper session. The athletic trainer of the Women’s National Team took us through a rather intense warm up that included pillars, lying hamstring lifts and bicycle abs. Our weight trainer, Mark Thobe, would have been proud. We spent the majority of the tryout doing team wash drills, one that was very similar to Queen of the Court. It was a little confusing at first playing with different girls than I’m used to. I even played middle a few rotations and ended up getting a kill off of a slide, something I haven’t attempted since high school. Lindsay showed off her defensive skills that she has been working on in individual practices this spring, studding it up in the back row. Hopefully the evaluators noticed these plays while keeping stats all day on their computers. After an intense two hour practice, we were looking forward to getting some food and relaxing. We came back to the room to get cleaned up and went with Rachael to get dinner in the Athlete Center before her practice. The food at the Athlete Center is amazing and has even won a few culinary awards. There were many options including salad, fruit, grilled chicken, vegetables, pasta, chocolate milk and more.
After dinner we all walked over to the gym to attend a short meeting about conduct at the OTC and how we are representing the United States National Team while we are here. Following the meeting Lindsay and I wished Rachael luck as we went back to the dorms to study for our tests coming up next week. Although it was only 6:30 p.m. in Colorado Springs, it was 8:30 p.m. back home in Dayton and being up for fourteen hours already, we were exhausted. When Rachael returned from her tryout, her dad took us to Walgreens so we could get Powerade for the rest of the weekend. We returned to our dorm, watched a movie and fell asleep rather quickly.
Although it was Saturday, we had to wake up at 6:45 in order to eat before our first session at 8:00. Rachael joined us for another delicious meal of fruit, yogurt, cereal, eggs, and granola. Rachael returned to the dorm to study for her bio-chemistry test as Lindsay and I went to the gym. The first session of the day started off with yet another intense warm up. We spent a majority of the session learning how the U.S. Women’s National Team passes. It was difficult at first to learn a new passing style, different from what we are used to but with help from the coaches throughout the session, Lindsay and I soon caught on. The rest of the session we used what we had just learned in serve and pass and butterfly. Our practice ended just in time for a much needed nap. Linds and I slept until noon when we went to see the list posted for the afternoon sessions. After checking our times, we watched Rachael in her session and her mom updated us on how well she had been doing. Rach even had an article written about her and her success in her volleyball career. (You can view this great article at http://usavolleyball.org/news/2010/02/19/injuries-not-stopping-broerman-at-national-team-tryout/32963?ngb_id=2 )
After eating a quick lunch, Lindsay and I arrived at the gym for our second session. For this practice, we were divided into teams to compete against other teams in wash drills. Lindsay and I happened to be on the same team and we dominated, winning all of our games. We were then assigned new teams for the rest of the session. Although this practice was rather tiring with the long rallies and intense competition, it was for sure the most fun. Linds and I got a snack from the Athletic Center cafeteria and returned to our room to work on homework while we watched Bruce Almighty and waited for Rachael to return from her tryout. When Rachael got finished, her mom took us to dinner at Olive Garden with Rachael’s two younger sisters who were very entertaining. We got many odd stares as a 6’6” Lindsay and I at 6’3” walked into the restaurant behind Rach’s family who are all under 5’5”. We even mentioned that Linds and I looked like the Broerman’s body guards. Following a delicious dinner, the three of us returned to the dorms, worked on some homework and soon after fell asleep.
The next morning, with only one session of the tryout left, we all awoke at 7:00 a.m. for breakfast. We enjoyed another delicious breakfast at the Athlete Center before Lindsay’s 8:00 a.m. practice. Rachael and I wished Lindsay good luck as we returned to the dorm to begin packing our things and to take a nap until our session at 9:30 a.m. In this last session, the coaches split us up into eight different teams and we played 15-minute regular games against different teams. Rachael and I arrived to our session early and saw Lindsay dominate her court getting four blocks in one game. Finally Rach and I were playing in our last session. Neither of us had girls on our team that we knew so it was difficult at first to communicate and compete at the high level that we are used to. After a while though, our teams began to click and the session flew by. We both ended the day 2-1 and our teams played each other.
Following our final sessions, we all checked out of our dorms and went with Rachael’s mom to walk around the Olympic Training Center where we got our picture taken in the U.S.A. Olympic Rings and by the statues of Olympians. We then looked around the OTC gift shop where Lindsay bought a Team USA sweatshirt and Rachael bought a Team USA T-shirt. Luckily, because of the Olympics in Vancouver, everything was 25 percent off! We purchased our items, and Mrs. Broerman drove us to Chipotle for a well-deserved lunch. Lindsay and I got dropped off at the OTC to wait until our 3:00 p.m. shuttle left for the airport, while Rachael got driven to the Denver Airport for her direct flight into Dayton.
After waiting about an hour and a half, our shuttle arrived and took us to the Colorado Springs Airport. Lindsay and I were so ready to be back home in Dayton as we began to check into our 4:52 flight to Chicago O’Hare with a one hour layover that would put us in Dayton at around 11:00 p.m. Linds went first, and as she checked in, she had complications getting our boarding passes. An airline representative came and informed us that our connecting flight from Chicago to Dayton had been cancelled and that there were no more flights going into Dayton that day. We were told that the soonest we could get into Dayton would be at eleven the next day and if we did that, Lindsay and I would miss our first spring team practice that was starting at 6:00 a.m. We began to stress out as we realized that there was no way we could fly into Dayton before practice the next day.
The airline representative increased our stress by telling us that if we flew into Chicago and stayed the night, it was possible that our flight would be cancelled the next day because of a large snow storm they were expecting that night. After calling coach to inform him of our situation, we decided that we would fly into Chicago anyway, get a hotel and get on the earliest flight to Dayton the next day. We got a new set of boarding passes and Lindsay and I proceeded through a very crowded security checkpoint. Luckily our flight to Chicago had been delayed until 5:51 p.m. because after spending all that time figuring out what we were going to do and standing in line through security, it was already 4:45 p.m.
As Lindsay and I waited to board our flight we noticed that a lot of flights had been delayed and there were many frustrated people. As 6:00 p.m. Colorado Springs time finally rolled around, we began to board the plane. It was then that we realized that there was a volleyball player from Miami University in Oxford that was on our flight. Curious as to if her connecting flight was cancelled; I asked where she was flying into. She responded with Cincinnati and informed us that with the delay of the flight to Chicago, her Cincinnati flight would wait for the connecting passengers before it took off. Being from Cincinnati, I thought maybe we could fly into Cincinnati as well and one of my parents could drive us up to Dayton. Excited by the idea that we would return in Dayton that night and wouldn’t have to stay an extra night in a hotel, Lindsay and I boarded the plane.
Although this flight was only scheduled to last an hour and forty minutes, it ended up being a two-hour-and-forty-minute, very long and bumpy plane ride before we landed in Chicago. Nervous that the Cincinnati plane was leaving soon, Lindsay and I hurried over to the gate and got placed seventh and eighth on the waiting list. The attendant informed us that we would know when the passengers boarded, in twenty minutes, whether or not we made it on the flight.
As we sat down and watched the list of standby passengers on the flight screen, we noticed that the departure time kept being pushed back later and later. Two hours after we were placed on the waiting list, it was almost midnight Chicago time and the flight still hadn’t left! It was almost 1:00 a.m. in Dayton and we would have to wake up in four hours for the start of practice. The attendant finally called our names letting us know we had gotten on the flight but she still did not know how long it would be until the flight actually took off. Lindsay and I decided that we would wait fifteen more minutes, until midnight, and if the flight hadn’t started boarding by then, then we wouldn’t make practice anyways and we would just stay the night in Chicago.
At 11:57, our flight to Cincinnati finally boarded. During the wait I had called my dad to see if he could take us from Cincinnati to Dayton. Originally he had said yes, but as the flight kept getting pushed further and further back he determined that if he took us he would not make it to work in time the next day. Being more stressed out than we thought possible, I decided to ask my boyfriend (who goes to school in Cincinnati) if he could drive us to Dayton when we landed. Luckily for us, he agreed and we left on our flight to Cincinnati.
One flight later, we arrived in the Cincinnati airport at 3:00 a.m.. My boyfriend and his friend drove Lindsay and I, who by this point were both very tired and frustrated with our return trip that should have ended four hours earlier. We didn’t arrive in Dayton until around 4:30 a.m. After Lindsay and I thanked the boys many, many times, we were dropped off back at school. I set my alarm for 5:00 a.m. - only a half hour later and fell asleep immediately.
When my alarm went off I felt even more tired than when I had gone to bed. After breakfast (which is very hard to eat that early in the morning) I headed over to Frericks for practice. Although we were very worn out and wanted nothing more than to be in bed, we put our eventful night behind us. When you’re passionate about something, you focus on that one thing and nothing else matters.
his is what we had to do in the morning; focus on every aspect of the drills, remain competitive, and strive to make our teammates better. After working on ball control, defense, serving, blocking, and attacking, 8:30 a.m. finally rolled around and our first team practice ended. All we wanted to do after showering and eating some food was to sleep all day and just relax. Since it was a Monday, we had to stay awake and focus long enough to make it through class so that we could keep our GPAs up.
After a rather eventful weekend of tryouts, time changes, and not nearly enough sleep, we will definitely be taking our much needed nap as soon as possible.