Courtney Thompson Player Diary
Sept. 21, 2005
Junior setter and tri-captain Courtney Thompson will be keeping a player diary throughout the 2005 volleyball season and will provide an inside look into the ins and outs of Husky Volleyball. Courtney's fifth installment is about the team's trip to Hawai'i.
Sept. 21, 2005
I had such a great time this past week. I just wish I could write every detail so everyone could understand what a cool experience our team just had. Let me start by saying my team is unbelievable. I can't tell you how many times I just sit back, smile, and think to myself "Wow, I am the luckiest setter and person in the world." Not only do they amaze me on the court, but I'm equally amazed with who they are, and how much fun they have no matter what they are doing. It is awesome- and I wish I could better express what a special group we have here at Washington.
Perhaps the next best thing about this weekend was the food!!! Holy cow (no pun intended), we had the most incredible meals...I would say that they were the best I have ever had but my parents read this so let's just leave it as simply great. Ashley and Tom Tom (Tamari) are from Oahu, so the night we arrived their parents, as well as Candace's extended family, made a huge feast for us on the beach. We had Hawaiian chicken, salmon, ribs, rice, edamame, salads, fruits (those were unreal), and just about every dessert you can think of. I was in heaven. I would take a bite of food and then look out to the ocean- what a life. But the treat didn't stop there because each night after our game the Hawaii booster club cooked for us again and we had a big tailgate right outside the gym. The hospitality they showed us made us feel so special and really made the experience that much more perfect. Boy it was good- I told Ash and Tom Tom that I am visiting this summer, so if their parents read this I was just wondering if that would be okay...
When we first arrived, we didn't have much time to change at the hotel (only three girls on our team put on their suits before heading to the potluck), but that didn't stop anyone from jumping in the ocean right after dinner. It was a sight to see; 13 tall girls jumping into the waves with jean shorts and t-shirts on. Then there was me who attempted to stay dry due to the clothing that would have become see-through had it gotten wet. I was doing well until Sanja came up with water balloons and nailed me, so I was partially soaked (Consider this a warning Sanja, because I will get you back). But kudos for nailing Jim and Keno- that was awesome.
The next day was Thursday, and we had practice first thing in the morning. It was weird being in a hotel on Waikiki Beach surrounded by happy vacationers because as relaxing as Hawaii is, that's not what we were there to do. So as we're going to practice, watching game film, and heading to pre-game meals, we are surrounded by people sipping exotic drinks by the pool, surfing, dining on the beach, and enjoying just about every paradise pastime you can imagine. It was neat how our team kept our focus and didn't let all the distractions get to us. We had a good practice that day- but the gym was so dog garn hot. The coolest part was getting to practice at Tamari's high school gym, where this huge sign declares "Welcome to (insert name of school)- Home of Tamari Miyashiro- Gatorade Volleyball State Player of the Year." How cool is that? I told her that when we live together next year, I'm going to put it up in our living room- wouldn't that be awesome? She wasn't big on the idea- but I'm older, so I think I can get it done. After practice, we had film right away and then had some time to relax. A few of us went to lunch with our parents, then hung out by the pool and went in the ocean for about an hour. The rest of the team went shopping...that's just not quite my thing.
So, after lunch, Christal and I caught our parents in a moment of weakness, convincing them of the unique opportunity to support us by financing professional massages at the spa in the hotel. At check-in, the spa hosts gave us nice robes, comfy slippers, some water, and the lady tells us, "Your therapists will be with you in a moment." So we're sitting there feeling rather special, just talking about the game tomorrow and around the corner come the two must beautiful Hawaiian men I have ever seen. NO JOKE. They had on flower wraps around their waists, no shirts, and Hawaiian necklaces- they looked like Hawaiian dancers if you can't quite get the visual. And in a nice, masculine voice say, "Courtney and Christal- right this way." I honestly thought someone was playing a joke on us- either that or I was in a movie. Chris and I just looked at each other and couldn't stop smiling. The massage was great and the whole point of those things is to relax your muscles, and mission accomplished on every muscle except for my poor cheek muscles. I think I was smiling the entire time, which was fine when my face was down, but it became a little awkward when I had to turn over. We were even in the same room because it was cheaper than two individuals, which made it a lot more fun. I tried to make conversation with my masseuse, but every time I'd ask a question, Christal's guy would answer. It was hard not to laugh after awhile. Talk about a perfect day, we followed our "once in a lifetime" massages by dressing up for a nice team dinner at a restaurant on the water. It was lots of fun taking pictures and all that good stuff- but thankfully, it was before dinner, because I spilled a large blob of vinaigrette on my skirt... when I unpack, I'll see if it will come out. By the time we got our dinner, our team was pretty tired. We had one more round of film, got a little treatment and headed straight to bed.
The next two days were awesome. I love game days- every part of it. And playing in Hawaii is something else. It's just such a cool experience and I feel so lucky to have been able to be a part of it. Everyone we came across knew we were there to play the Wahine and everywhere we went they'd either tell us we were going to lose or to be nice to them. It felt like a big football game. Even the bus boys and the people at the airport all knew what had happened right after we played because they would run into the back and listen to it on the radio. Being in an environment that loved volleyball that much was really neat. And talk about a cool arena- it's a big dome which was sold out both nights, and their crowd is awesome. Even when we made a good play they would cheer like crazy. It's so obvious that they understand volleyball at a high level. They also got on us quite a bit- but it's good to play in those kind of environments because you learn to just stick together as a team. We always say "only us"- because once you get on that court who knows what the fans are going to say about you. Can you believe that people actually make fun of the headband? I mean seriously- I know it's probably hard to believe, but it happens. There were a few times that I just couldn't believe how loud the crowd got and it's the most incredible feeling when you're out there playing against that. It's what college athletics is all about and we soaked up every part of it. We were prepared for those games and that makes playing them a whole lot of fun. With all that said, I wouldn't want to play home games anywhere other than Seattle.
It was an awesome way to finish up our preseason- and we're back to it - preparing for our first match against Wazzu. We've got a long way to go and the Pac-10 is always tough every single night. We are excited for the challenges ahead; getting better everyday, being prepared for every weekend, and enjoying every single second- even when they're making fun of the headband.
I thought that was going to be the end but I just have to say how great the Hawaiian hospitality was. Tom Tom's, Candace's, and Ashley's families were so great and so nice; it just really made the trip perfect. We were given beautiful leis every night, spoiled by the awesome meals, and so much love. I hope they know how grateful we all are. It made the week so much fun. Hopefully, our parents will see the correlation between the spa massages and winning two great matches.
P.S. North Dakota was cool too.