A solid 10 day trip to Cali, all aspects; volleyball, social, music, earthquakes…. yea, I said earthquakes. I think the craziest part about my first earthquake experience is that, while I was safe and sound, enjoying the experience, I came back to my hotel room to see that there was actually a lot of damage done – on CNN, not actually around my hotel in Hermosa. Many houses, streets, and business establishments suffered from the 5.1 quake.
Times like that really make you respect Mother Nature on a whole other level. I’m used to appreciating it’s beautiful scenery and weather on a regular basis, but when things like this occur you get a totally new understanding of what Mother Nature can really do… Wow.
The days leading up to this were jammed with training. I was surprised at how quickly my body started to fatigue after many consecutive training days, something I apparently took for granted prior to the start of this camp. Now that it’s over I’m happy with the way things went, though. Red and I were able to work on many aspects of the game, most importantly our team dynamic during certain situations. While in Cali we were normally training with teams who have either achieved more than we have internationally, have more years experience, or who are in a similar position as us and hungry to compete and win.
Every time I’m in SoCal I find it extremely tough to leave. Along with the plethora of local talent to train with, there’s also international teams traveling down to utilize the same – it provides an atmosphere that’s much more conducive to a World Tour athlete’s development than what Canada can deliver, from a competition aspect. But it is what it is, and that’s why I hope Volleyball Canada continues to provide athletes with this opportunity long after my career is over (and while I’m still around, of course!)
The trickiest day we encountered was a day we barely even practiced. The wind was reminiscent of Xiamen last season, or The Hague, blowing like crazy. There was some confusion with our session in Huntington so we jumped in with the Canadians back at Hermosa (shout out to the Mend family for rolling down and hanging out that morning!) The wind made it almost impossible for us to perform the drills with any real control, just trying to hit the ball in the court was a struggle at times. We had to call it early (luckily) as Red had to be on a conference call for work – I took the early finish as an opportunity to lay there and chat with friends who had come down to check out practice.
Coming down to Cali I knew I’d have some down time and was trying to fill it with some concerts, meetings, and other non-volleyball related things. One night (the night of the earthquake) we drove down to Long Beach and caught a show of a favorite local reggae/rock band of mine, Katastro. They were opening for Sono-Vero but with our early morning training we only had time to catch Katastro play. Last year I just missed them, so this time around I was pumped for the opportunity to see them play live. They are one of those bands that sound just like their produced music, which is always nice when seeing bands live, but throw in unique riffs and lyrics, intros and crazy mixes to make the live experience that much more unique. On our way out Jamie and I had a chance to meet the band and they were all rad guys, down to earth and as pumped to meet us as we were them, surprisingly.
I didn’t get as much in as I originally had planned, but with 10 training sessions in 10 days it was tough to find energy for anything other than a relaxing night and an early bed time… We’ll be heading back down before we leave to China, as well as sometime in May before the European FIVB events kick off.
Till then, it’s time to shift focus for the upcoming week back in Toronto. The next 10 days back home are going to be quite busy, with a multitude of things. Wrapping up loose ends before World Tour starts – however, before I know it, I’ll be on the plane heading back out West, then to China.
When I have some down time within the next two weeks I’ll edit and post some video from our time in Cali – you’ll find vids on the Video Page when they’re posted – if you haven’t checked it out yet I suggest you do so