Thursday, July 25, 2013

AVCA All-Americans Travel to Costa Rica - Player Perspective

by Megan Rietema, Calvin College

Megan is in Costa Rica this week with a team of fellow AVCA Division II and III All-Americans with USA Athletes International to play matches, participate in service projects and teach the game to local children.  There will be blogs coming all week from AVCA staff, players and check back here tomorrow!

Hey all! My name is Megan Rietema and I am a setter from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. This is my first time traveling to Costa Rica and my first time attending a trip to play volleyball. So far this trip has been unbelievable and filled with some amazing experiences. Over the past two days we have had the opportunity to spend a little bit of our time here in elementary schools. It has been amazing to see the joy on the children's faces when we come in to teach them a little about something we all love and have such a passion for.


All of us (the players) split up by position and teach group by group about our specific skills. It has been fun to see the kids try to do exactly what we show them - especially because the majority of us speak little or no Spanish. I am one of the more pathetic ones and usually just shout out the only words I know and can relate to setting, such as "mas alto" or "dos manos" :). 

Dos manos!

One of our guides from the week, Caesar, lives in Costa Rica and works through a church in Indiana doing mission work in schools by leading after-school programs about volleyball plus a bible study. It was super cool to be a part of his program today knowing we were impacting those children in positives ways. We thought it was very funny that the first thing the little Costa Rican girls asked us was if we had ever been to the Nickelodian Kids Choice Awards, haha! There have been lots of laughs and smiles shared with the children this week, and as much as I can hope we touched their lives, I know they all touched ours.

Apparently this is kind of a big deal in Costa Rica.

Not only have we already had some awesome experiences off the court, but we have had some pretty awesome times on the court! On Monday we were able to play against Costa Rica's Junior National team and National team! For never playing together before this trip, I thought we performed pretty well and really pulled it together quickly for the challenging competition. Both teams provided us with a very intense match- I think I can speak for all of us when I say these were some of the best volleyball players we have ever played against and probably ever will! It was fun to be pushed by these ladies and to see how we could react to amazing talent by sticking together and playing as a team. We ended up going 2-0 to the National team, and I know it was an experience none of us will ever forget!

Thank you to everyone who is following us and supporting us on this week-long adventure!

- Megan Rietema #11


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