M18UTeamFloridaWhat an absolutely amazing trip! We left Thursday afternoon for the land of sand and left behind us sunshine and a possible high of +9! What!? Of course, there had to be a chinook roll in at the exact moment that we were leaving. We still left, knowing that flip flops could not be worn here in C-town, but could in Orlando/Daytona Beach FLORIDA! Of course, there is always someone that forgets their passport… we all know who you are! We landed just before midnight local time and by the time we bartered for our rental cars and GPS, guys were ready to explore. We punched in co-ordinates to hotel into GPS and proceeded to follow…. It wasn’t until 15 minutes later that we realized that the darn thing didn’t work! So… back to the airport we went. We finally got it sorted out and on our way we went. We stayed in our sweet hotel just minutes from the airport. It was AT LEAST a 1 star hotel!

Friday, we got up early, partook of our grand breakfast and went to Universal Studios Orlando! It was a fun time had by all. We inhaled burgers, French fries, and endless soda (aka: pop). We were, after all on vacation for that day. Some of our highlights of Universal, included the Mummy ride, a vicious roller coaster, fear factor, and Beetle juice. We may have also had a George Lucas sighting! We left and encountered some awesome rush hour traffic as we headed to Daytona Beach. We arrived and checked into the tournament, all with a miracle of no errors! We also saw a brother and sister on the street outside of the venue. Later that night, we checked into our hotel and for the first time, caught a glimpse of why we chose Florida…. All of our rooms had ocean views. A lot of good that did that night as all we could do is hear the waves and not see them! (It gets dark early in Florida right now).

Saturday, we started our day early with a great in room breakfast. The Klassens took care of us with our great room service! We spent the day, literally the entire day at the venue. We played 5 matches and had a record of 2-3. With wins vs Florida teams and losses to a team from Atlanta and another one from Florida. This placed us in the Bronze bracket. Later this night, guys were able to enjoy our pool and hot tub a little. Again… no beach today due to sun setting before we were done with tourney for the day.

Sunday, we headed back to the gym after our yummy breakfast again. It was playoff time and as a team we decided to win our ‘new tournament’ we were in. We played a bad team in the first match from Florida, followed by a very good team, again from Florida. We won the first match 2-0 and the second 2-1. This put us in the Bronze Bracket Gold medal game vs. a team from Miami. This team had 2 fantastic players on the team along with many other good players. We had progressively gotten better with every touch of the ball in these 2 days and this group of 403 select did what every coach dreams of…. Plays their best volleyball of the tourney at the end! We won 25-16, then lost 25-27. This put us in the nail-biter 3rd and deciding set… There were so many fans that it made it exciting- at least 15J. We ended up losing the match in the 3rd 11-15, but the guys were awesome. We split their time equally and in all 8 matches never had the same line up out there. Our final record: 4-4 and a 2nd place finish in the Bronze bracket. It was a wonderful experience for all. We grew so much as a team and I think we surprised even ourselves as to how good we might be able to become! That night, we had a celebratory dinner at Joe’s crab shack. Lobster, shrimp, muscles, scallops, crab, and even… rice, were had by all. This night, we had a great team building activity that will tie us all together for the rest of the season and hopefully beyond!

M18UBeachMonday, we finally got to the beach. We drove on the beach in our vehicles and may have driven over some structures in the sand that looked like castles. We also sang the Rocky theme to people exercising on the beach. What did the guys do? Yup! They found a beach court and played Volleyball! We, of course had to keep in touch with our feminine side and go shopping before heading to the Airport. At least our shopping was done a store called “Dicks sports”. We boarded plane, only to be told that there was “damage in the cargo bay” and that we were unable to take off. After a delay, we were airborn for Minnesota where our connection flight impatiently awaited our arrival. We landed safely and didn’t lose anyone. All in all, a successful trip on all fronts.

What a privilege and honor for us to be together as a team. We want to thank all of the parents for their help and support and especially the 403 board for their support in such an adventure.