The LoDown: Are we there yet?
July 11, 2013
Junior libero/defensive specialist Laura Hathaway is in Europe playing for the BIP Southeastern team as part of the European Global Challenge. Read about how her conditioning came in handy in a European airport and her first full day overseas, which included a win over the Youth National Hungarian team and some great sightseeing.
For more on Hathaway's journey, follow @StonyBrookVB, @getlo13 and @SBAthletics on Twitter or search for the hashtag #GetLo. She will be taking over the @StonyBrookVB account on July 20. More details will follow in the coming days on how people can ask questions.
Well, it's only been about two full days and it has definitely been an adventure. Everything went smoothly checking in, getting through security, getting to my gate and getting on the plane. Once we were on the plane it seemed like it was taking a bit. Then we were told the door to the cockpit was broken. Two hours later, it was fixed. We were then told we had to wait for 20 other planes to takeoff on the runway before we could. As a result, I was on the plane for about three hours before I actually was in the air. That was a little rough, but I'd much rather them take care of fixing the plane on the ground before we were in air for seven hours.
Because of the delay, I missed my connection from Germany to Budapest. That was when the struggle started. Long story short, I was told I was booked for a flight leaving an hour later. When I got to that gate, they told me it was full, I wasn't booked and to go a gate across the airport that had the next flight leaving five hours later. I got across the airport and told them my situation. They looked at flights and finally asked me if I could make it back to the gate I came from within five minutes. This is where I'm going to shout out to my strength coach, the only and only Nick Kolb, for all the sprint and agility work he's put us through, because I was on a dead sprint and cutting like a mad woman to dodge people. For the record, I made it in less than five minutes, but it was too late and the gate was closed.
Then I was told the 12:30 flight (the one 5 hours later than my original) was booked and I would to wait and see if I could get on it. While waiting for that at the flight services for that boarding ticket, a very angry man was screaming at the attendants in Polish to the point he had to be taken away by security. That made things just a little more interesting. Luckily, I ended up getting a seat and met some nice older couples from Texas while waiting.
From the time I got to JFK to the time I landed in Budapest, I had traveled for 20 hours. It was a little more complicated than expected, but I was just happy I made it. Since then, everything has gone smoothly. Last night, we went to dinner and just walked around a bit, which was fine with all of us because we were beat.
This morning, we played the Youth National Hungarian team to start of our trip. We didn't have time to practice so the match was our first time playing as a team. We're still working out the kinks and figuring out how to play together, but all in all we did very well and it was a lot of fun. We won the match in 5 and couldn't pick a better to start our tour than with a win. After our match, we ate lunch, came back to the hotel and went sightseeing for the rest of the day.
Sightseeing was pretty awesome. Budapest is a beautiful place. We have a tour guide named Heni who takes us everywhere and speaks in Hungarian for us. She's very nice and super funny. I wish I could tell you the names of the places in the pictures, but I can't even begin to spell them so I'm not going to try. Just know that it's all beautiful.
As for the rest, I really like my team. It's an awesome group, and I think with a little more time to figure each other out and some practice we could do some very good things in the tournament. The food is different, I'm a picky eater in general, but it's mainly some variation of chicken and rice so I can handle that. I'm a big fan of the bakeries and gelato places though-- they're delicious.
I don't have very bad jet lag anymore. I'm not trying to jinx anything, but I'd say my body is almost used to the time. It has almost figured out when it wants to eat and sleep on a regular schedule. A six-hour difference is definitely a big change.
We practice tomorrow morning, sightsee all day and then practice again at night. Saturday, we'll be doing some variation of the same thing. I think we travel on Sunday. I should probably know our schedule a little bit better, but I'm just along for the ride and enjoying every second. Plus, our coaches are on top of things so we just all trust them to have it under control for us. I do know that when we get to Croatia, I'll be meeting up with my coaches, Coley and Dan Pawlikowski and my SB teammate, Melissa Rigo. Obviously, I'm pretty excited about that.
That's about it for now. It's very easy to tell that we're going to be playing some great teams and experience some competitive volleyball. I'm just excited to get better. I'm loving it. Long days ahead, so I'm headed to bed.