Well, to sum it all up…

As I sit on my parent’s patio surrounded by sun, peace, and almost near quiet – a road hockey game just ended – I felt the need to write about Nationals, before forgetting the fine details.

It was a new, amazing experience. Since I’ve competed at Nationals it’s always been hosted at Ashbridges Bay in Toronto, which to me is a great scene but was never BC. Volleyball BC hosting the Canadian National Championships in Vancouver has always been a dream of mine, and so many others. Before I get into any details I’d just like to let the people at, and affiliated with, Volleyball BC know that I thought it was a stellar event that will only get better – use the Vancouver Open as example, the best Canadian beach tournament in my opinion.

Sometimes new experiences are tough to adjust to – I had pictured grand stands facing the ocean and mountains, or maybe the view of downtown, or even that huge house on the hill! (“Mountain” to those of you from the GTA!) Although there were no grand stands I could definitely feel the energy each match, especially during the semi and finals. Sanderson on the mic was doing a good job keeping the crowd going, which was awesome as it felt like the loudest guy in the crowd was cheering for me, or maybe just for “Hammer It”, I’m still unsure…

The quality and amount of exciting matches this year was the best in my years of playing Canadian Nationals – I came 5th in my first three attempts though (21U, 24U, and Senior Div 1) so maybe that explains why I think that, haha. Meeting these guys in the final, again, was perfect; Chaim has been my roommate (and NHL12 Co-GM) for the past three years in Toronto, and Matty Z and I once dressed up in suits like Harry and Lloyd’s from “Dumb and Dumber.” Not to mention going into bonus points in the third set, again, was almost un-writable – The 4 of us full on knowing it was going to be a battle that either team could win.

Fortunately for Sam and I, we got off to a small early lead in the third set, which we held for most of the match up until Matty and Chaimer tied it at 14’s. Our previous three battles (four total), dating back to our last OVA tournament, were won in three sets, if I remember correctly, and oddly enough in our last two meetings the team who won the first set ended up losing the match. With the score at 17-16, having let opportunity to side out for the win slip away, I moved from right to left side of the court to catch any bit of head wind I could. My serve found the middle of the court and with that we won the final point of the game, 18-16 and the 2012 Beach National Championships!

*Sam, now the youngest male player to win Senior Division 1 Nationals. I’m 95% sure that ‘fun fact’ is accurate – and brought to you by (enter Sean Sanderson one liner here).
- Sorry, if you weren’t at Spanish Banks this past weekend you won’t get that reference.

The feeling of winning, after what felt like the longest, up and down season to date, was incredible. After Sam and I celebrated the final point and shook Chaim, Matt, and the refs’ hands I headed to the crew of ‘slow clappers’ and shared the feeling with some of my closest friends and loudest supporters, not long after giving my mom a big celebratory hug.

Ok, so I obviously left out lots of details but if you were at Spanish Banks competing or spectating (even if you were watching a court at the opposite end of the beach) you probably heard a lot of the “details” – or at least you heard our side of the details… compliments of only Sam, as I kept my cool the entire event! And if you were there you’ll know that’s a bold faced lie – I apologize. As a friend mentioned earlier, it all worked out for us in the end, I’ll take that feeling any day of the week.

Big congratulations to all the teams who participated in this year’s Youth and Senior Beach National Championships. Again, huge props and respect to Chaim and Matty Z for our entertaining and heartbreaking finals run together. I’ve posted what I’m about to say on facebook (facebook.com/hatch.schachter – “Like” us!) but I’ll say it again, one massive huge hug and kiss to our families for always being there for us and will continue to watch and support us en route to the 2015 and 2016 games.

Words cannot describe how good it’s felt to spend so much time back home, on the West Coast, surrounded by everything and everyone that I love. Thank you so much to everyone who made it possible; for your couches and open beds, your food, and so much more, I honestly could not accomplish these things without your help.

I look forward to continued success in front of you all, and can’t wait for next years journey on the West Coast – although it’s not over just yet, my return flight is still not booked!
Hello to surfing in Tofino, hiking the Chief, my first “Cliver” beach tournament this year teaming up with the guy I got my first top 4 finish with, Dave Shaw!  Summer out West ends with Volleybash 23 in Parksville, and a fishing trip with my old man!

Last but not least, Thank-You to my Sponsors:

Voolii – you’re our biggest sponsor and had a direct hand in helping us achieve this National Championship. “Like” @Voolii on Twitter and Facebookwww.voolii.com

Spy Optic – Although Sam always ends up with no shades or hat on his head by the end of the game we love your products and look forward to a long partnership with Spy! : www.spyoptic.com

Ergogenics Nutrition – even though your protein is what puts my luggage overweight on almost all my international flights, I never leave home without it! And your greens supplement is a daily necessity and an important part of my healthy lifestyle : www.ergogenicsnutrition.com

Travel Roller – I roll out sore muscles, and I travel. This just makes sense. Get yours, constant traveling not necessary for purchase! www.travelroller.com

And finally, two people who have been with me since my first year playing for the Beach National Team; Dr. Ryan Scott, my personal therapist and weight trainer at Advantage4Athletes Training Center; and Carlos A. Simon at Spix YYZ who designed my website and is currently working on a new look for the site!

Officially, my 2012 beach volleyball season is over. Now it’s time to rest my body for a while before our “off season” gets underway; sponsor hunt, fundraising plan, and a new full-time job! You can’t argue ‘beach volleyball’ isn’t a lifestyle – it is, at least until you’re making bank each tournament!

Get out and enjoy what nice weather remains. Before I know it, I’ll be wearing winter boots in TO.

-Mav